Today I am offering up another fashion book review. This time round it is 100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman (Laurence King, now £16 on Amazon). This is a fashion book – that unlike some other histories of 20th century fashion – deserves to be read thoroughly rather than just looked at.

I own a horrendous amount of books on fashion (well over 100) and I would say a good 10 to 15 of these are the generic “100 hundred years of fashion” or “fashion in the 20th century” type books. Therefore, anything of this kind has to be really different and imaginative to catch my imagination.

Blackman is very successful with this latest offering. The book looks beautiful on your table – who can say no to the delightful image of Audrey Hepburn on the front! – and it is also full of great info.

Wedding of Princess Shimazu of Japan, 1922

I really like a number of things about this book. Firstly it is a fabulously international offering. Books such as this tend to focus on fashion from Britain, America and France but here there are fashion exampled from all over the world. The imagery in the book is equally excellent, offering original photographs, garments, and illustrations. The book primarily focuses on high-end fashion, although there are hints of the everyday throughout.

Debutantes, 1955

The book seamlessly bridges the gap between educational and beautiful, it isn’t overly wordy yet there were little bits of information throughout that were new to me.

90s Versace

This is one of the first books of this type I have seen that goes up to the modern day in an effective manner. The review of fashion in the last ten years or so at the end was spot on. I find that such books normally veer too heavily into the conceptual and focus on the likes of Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor and Rolf too heavily, whereas here the influence of the “retro” in the past few years is given deserved recognition.

If you like Blackman’s style I can also recommend her beautiful 100 Years of Fashion Illustration.

Advantage In Vintage is Liz Tregenza, a vintage collector and fashion historian.
Not only does Liz love vintage but also the social history connected to the clothes.
Liz primarily collects garments from the Forties and Fifties and has a passion for novelty print textiles.