Summer Reading, Had Me Some Fun!

With the semester behind us all, it’s a good time to slowly catch up on various books that we’ve had our eye on. There are three recent titles* that have caught my eye that I hope to peruse this summer break:

hijacking

Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers by Teri Agins

Hollywood stars have always furthered fashion’s cause of seducing the masses into buying designers’ clothes by acting as living billboards. Now, red carpet celebrities are no longer content to just advertise and are putting their names on labels that reflect the image they―or their stylists―created.

Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sean Combs, and a host of pop, sports, and reality―show stars of the moment are leveraging the power of their celebrity to become the face of their own fashion brands. And a few celebrities―like the Olsen Twins and Victoria Beckham―have gone all the way and reinvented themselves as bona fide designers.

Teri Agins charts this strange new terrain with with and insight and an insider’s access to the fascinating struggles of the bold―type names and their jealousies, insecurities, and triumphs.

dress fashion

Dress, Fashion, and Technology: From Prehistory to the Present  by Phyllis G. Tortora

Technology has been an essential factor in the production of dress and the cultures of fashion throughout human history. Structured chronologically from prehistory to the present day, this is the first broad study of the complex relationship between dress and technology.

Over the course of human history, dress-making and fashion technology has changed beyond recognition: from needles and human hands in the ancient world to complex 20th-century textile production machines, it has now come to include the technologies that influence dress styles and the fashion industry, while fashion itself may drive aspects of technology. In the last century, new technologies such as the electronic media and high-tech manufacturing have helped not just to produce but to define fashion: the creation of automobiles prompted a decline in long skirts for women while the beginnings of space travel caused people to radically rethink the function of dress. In many ways, technology has itself created avant-garde and contemporary fashions.

Through an impressive range of international case studies, the book challenges the perception that fashion is unique to western dress and outlines the many ways in which dress and technology intersect. Dress, Fashion and Technology is ideal reading for students and scholars of fashion studies, textile history, anthropology and cultural studies.

fashioning the body

Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette edited by Denis Bruna

This unique survey offers fascinating insights into the convoluted transformations employed by both men and women to accommodate the fickle dictates of fashion. With high design, wit, and style, Fashioning the Body tracks the evolution of these sartorial devices—from panniers, crinolines, and push-up bras to chains, zippers, and clasps—concealed beneath outer layers in order to project idealized figures. Women’s corsets constricted waists; exaggerated buttocks and hips counterbalanced jutting bust lines; and chic, aerodynamic silhouettes compressed breasts and flattened bellies. Yet masculine fashion has been no stranger to these tortuous practices. Men flaunted their virility by artificially broadening their shoulders, applying padding to their chests, and slipping codpieces over their groins. With more than 200 beautiful illustrations—including reproductions of superb historic advertisements—Denis Bruna reveals the industry and art of these contrivances meant to entice and beguile as well as assert status and power. Contemporary haute-couture designers Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix, and Vivienne Westwood are featured in this indiscreet tour of intimate fashion history. 

 *Descriptions came from Amazon.com.

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