The First Book of Fashion: The Book of Clothes of Matthaeus and Veit Konrad SCHWARZ of Augsburg

This struck me as particularly interesting – a kind of precursor to the fashion blog…


Title:  The First Book of Fashion: The Book of Clothes of Matthaeus and Veit Konrad SCHWARZ of Augsburg

Author: Rublack, Ulinka (et al) Price: $45.00 ISBN: 9780857857682 Available December 2015 Description: London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. 25cm., hardcover, 432pp., 187 color illus.

Summary:  “This captivating book reproduces arguably the most extraordinary primary source documents in fashion history. Providing a revealing window onto the Renaissance, they chronicle how style-conscious accountant Matthäus Schwarz and his son Veit Konrad experienced life through clothes, and climbed the social ladder through fastidious management of self-image. These bourgeois dandies’ agenda resonates as powerfully today as it did in the sixteenth century: one has to dress to impress, and dress to impress they did. The Schwarzes recorded their sartorial triumphs as well as failures in life in a series of portraits by illuminists over 60 years, which have been comprehensively reproduced in full color for the first time. These exquisite illustrations are accompanied by the Schwarzes’ fashion-focussed yet at times deeply personal captions, which render the pair the world’s first fashio n bloggers and pioneers of everyday portraiture. The First Book of Fashion demonstrates how dress – seemingly both ephemeral and trivial – is a potent tool in the right hands. Beyond this, it colorfully recaptures the experience of Renaissance life and reveals the importance of clothing to the aesthetics and every day culture of the period.”  (Via Michael Shamansky, Bookseller Inc. or Bloomsbury.)


Author: Sandra Ley

Sandra Ley is the visual arts and fashion design librarian for Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

2 thoughts on “The First Book of Fashion: The Book of Clothes of Matthaeus and Veit Konrad SCHWARZ of Augsburg”

  1. As publisher, I would not normally comment on one of our titles. However, it’s terrific to see this book singled out and it is so special that I am making an exception. This is an extraordinary primary source document that has our fashion team tremendously excited. It has enormous significance for dress historians, and the book is also a valuable source for art historians and for cultural historians interested in everyday life of the Renaissance. The illustrations are delightful – and the book’s relevance to contemporary life striking. The preoccupations of its ‘author’ – a 16th-century accountant — appear to be timeless. As far as we know, these illustrations are the world’s first ‘selfies.’ I can’t wait to see the book in print!

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