Enfilade

New Book | Fashion Plates: 150 Years of Style

Posted in books by Editor on October 8, 2015

Due out next month from Yale UP:

April Calahan, edited by Karen Trivette Cannell, with a foreword by Anna Sui, Fashion Plates: 150 Years of Style (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), 440 pages, ISBN: 978-0300212266, $150.

9780300212266Prior to the invention of photography, European and American magazines used colorful prints to depict the latest fashion trends. These illustrations, known as ‘fashion plates’, conveyed the cutting-edge styles embraced by the fashion-conscious elite and proved inspirational to the upwardly mobile. Fashion Plates: 150 Years of Style is a comprehensive survey containing 200 fashion plates, many reproduced at actual size, from publications dating from 1778 to the early 20th century.

A number of these charming illustrations are extremely rare, and have not appeared in print since their publication in the periodicals in which they first ran. Organized chronologically and featuring both men’s and women’s garments, these lively and colorful vignettes not only are beautiful, but also clearly illustrate the evolution of fashion over time. Many of the plates were produced by important artists of the day, including Léon Bakst, George Barbier, and Georges Lepape. With texts by April Calahan on the social, political, and economic significance of fashion and its industries, and a foreword by award-winning fashion designer Anna Sui, this exquisite slipcased publication fills an important gap in the literature on the history of fashion and provides an entertaining historical overview for the general reader.

April Calahan is a fashion historian, writer and art appraiser, as well as special collections associate at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Karen Trivette Cannell is assistant professor and head of special collections and the archive at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Anna Sui is a fashion designer living in New York City.

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