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Fashion Archive

Monday

5

May 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons, Dresses, Fashion, Women

Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Tonight is the highly-anticipated Met Gala, the annual fundraiser ball for the Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Besides the amazing (and sometimes over-the-top) fashions displayed on the red carpet, what I love about the annual Gala is that it signifies the commencement of another exciting exhibit at the Museum. This year’s exhibition is entitled Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and is an examination of the illustrious couturier’s career, as well as his often-imitated design methodology.

Charles James "Taxi" Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James “Taxi” Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James was born in 1906. He attended Harrow School alongside Cecil Beaton (the famous photographer). James’s designs first caught attention during at a showing in Paris in 1947. He was the father of many firsts in fashion design, including his taxi dress innovation (made first in 1929, given the name “taxi dress” because, according to Costume Institute curator Harold Koda, it was “so easy to wear it could be slipped on in the backseat of a taxi”. Interestingly enough, James had no formal training in fashion design, however he is to this day regarded as one of the most innovative designers of his time.

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James: Beyond Fashion will be exhibited in two locations: Both at the Anna Wintour Costume Center as well as on the Met’s first floor. According to Metmuseum.org, the exhibit will include approximately seventy-five of James’s most iconic designs.

I am particularly eager to check out the exhibit this summer, not just because of this years subject, but also because this is first exhibit at the Institute since its renovation. Some of my favourite exhibits from the past several years include the American Woman collection, Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty”, and “Impossible Conversations” with Schiaparelli and Prada.

For more information on Charles James: Beyond Fashion, visit the Met’s official website.

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Thursday

24

November 2011

Robertson’s Reads: Lanvin by Elisabeth Barille

Written by , Posted in Fashion

I love indulging in an entertaining and enlightening book, and this Assouline collectible hardcover just so happens to be both (and so much more). Lanvin details the evolution of the high fashion brand, and it’s namesake founder, Jeanne Lanvin.

Lanvin’s got an incredible story, from her exciting personal life to her illustrious career as not just a couturier, but also as an interior designer and fragrance creator.

Lanvin by Elisabeth Barille is filled with illustrations and photography, and whether you’re interested in clothing construction, costume design, or fashion history, this is a book you’ll love looking through.

Bonus? Completely affordable, this hardcover book is a great gift idea for any stylish woman on your gift list this holiday season.

 

Assouline Books Lanvin by Elisabeth Barille, $25, Net-A-Porter

 

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Tuesday

1

March 2011

Robertson’s Reads: Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Camilla Morton

Written by , Posted in Fashion

To be entirely honest, I’ve always had a love for fairy tales. There was just something about those Disney princesses that inspired imagination and brought life to otherwise basic words. And, if we’re talking favourites, the story of Sleeping Beauty was always my first choice, and I even went through a phase where I wanted to name one of my children Aurora (I was five, deal with it).

When I heard that one of my favourite fashion writers, Camilla Morton, was working alongside some iconic designers to blend fairy tale with biography, I was absolutely elated. Morton’s voice is quirky and often humourous, and she has a way of writing that really appeals to me (have you ever read A Girl for all Seasons or How to Walk in High Heels?). Mix that with the brilliant talent of famed fashion designer Christian Lacroix (Lacroix illustrated the book), and you’ve got a magical treasure that you’ll read over and over again.

Morton puts a contemporary spin on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty in Christian Lacroix and The Tale of Sleeping Beauty: A Fashion Fairy Tale. The story strays slightly from the original, as it’s actually an imaginative version of Lacroix’s own life and career in fashion. One part actual and one part eccentric, this book is entirely electrifying.

 

Buy it today: Christian Lacroix and The Tale of Sleepign Beauty: A Fashion Fairy Tale, $17.32 CAD, Amazon.ca

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Thursday

27

January 2011

Robertson’s Reads: The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming, C.W. Cunnington and P.E. Cunnington

Written by , Posted in Fashion

When I was a child, probably one of my most quirky habits was reading the dictionary. It was such a thrill for me to learn definitions and indulge my love for word history. Fast-forward almost twenty years, and now I’m a fashion aficionado and a young woman who LOVES to learn about style and how it’s evolved over the years. When I came across this gem of a book, The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming (you may be familiar with her work as the Chairman of The Costume Society, and as the former Deputy Director at the Museum of London), and historians C.W. Cunnington and P.E. Cunnington, I knew it would become an instant favourite of mine as well as a worthy resource for all things fashion.

The Dictionary of Fashion History is a concise catalogue of fashion terms from a to z. Covering everything from the 16th to the 20th century, this is one book to which historians and fashionistas alike will relate. Complete with fundamental facts and random fashion facts, this book is a must-have for anyone with an interest in fashion history, style evolution, theatre, and costume design (in fact, this book acts as a primer for costume historians).

Available in both paperback and hardcover versions, I’d suggest you opt for hardcover if you plan to use this book as a consistent resource.

 

The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming, C.W. Cunnington, and P.E. Cunnington, $22.65 CDN paperback or $112.98 CDN hardcover, Amazon

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Tuesday

18

January 2011

Hope Hearts: French Vogue February 2011 Cover

Written by , Posted in Fashion

She did it!

Lara Stone has landed Carine Roitfeld’s penultimate French Vogue cover. The February 2011 issue of French Vogue looks rather ready for Spring, doesn’t it?

I can’t help but find inspiration in the beautiful blue sky and floral backdrop, complemented so perfectly with the contrasting clothing of the cover girl. The cheerful combination of colours is so appropriate for a time of year when so many suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

The parts of the whole are nothing new; but together they compose a cover to be remembered.

What do you think of Lara Stone’s February 2011 French Vogue cover? Love it or leave it? Vote in the poll at the side of your screen!

 

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Monday

20

December 2010

Robertson’s Reads: The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

Written by , Posted in Fashion

Let’s just talk for a minute about Janie Bryant. She’s a style genius, right? Studying at Georgia State University, and starting out as designer for two David Milch shows, Big Apple and HBO’s Deadwood, Janie Bryant most recently took up residence as the costume designer for Mad Men. And what a designer she is! Inspiring real-life runway collections from Michael Kors and Prada, Janie Bryant has put classic clothing back on the map. The Mad Men costume designer is so sought-after that she’s written her own book, entitled The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men, in which she delves deep into the dressing room from the style-setting AMC show Mad Men, and reveals her in-depth design process behind female characters’ looks.

In Fashion File, Janie Bryant offers practical advice to assist real women in their quest to dress with style, but also personality. Bryant covers topic ranging from bra sizes to boys (yes, ladies, there is a section to help you style your guy like Don Draper). And — a woman after my own heart — Bryant’s got her own list of ten essentials that every woman should have in her wardrobe.

This book is a must-have for any fashionista. Whether or not you’re a fan of Mad Men, the clothes worn by the characters on the hit AMC show are classic, and this book will show you how to find your own timeless style.

The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men ($18.80 CDN, Amazon)

 

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Friday

24

September 2010

VOGUE Archive Collection Prints

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Fashion

Printed with UltraChrome inks on 16 inch x 20 inch exhibition paper, these Vogue Archive Collection prints are certainly a must-have for any fashion aficionado.

Hand-selected by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, these Vogue prints come in a designer box that includes a signed letter from the editrix herself. Fabulous, right? The fashion-forward prints are exclusive to Net-A-Porter, and trust me; I’ve an inkling these Vogue Archive Collection prints will go fast. They’re limited edition and feature five classic American style icons.

Who are the photo subjects, you ask?

 

  • Jacqueline Bouvier;
  • Grace Kelly;
  • Ali MacGraw;
  • C.Z. Guest;
  • Babe Paley.
Whilst my favourite is a portrait of the regal beauty Grace Kelly, I must say there is something so very fascinating and enthralling about the portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier in her earlier years.
VOGUE Archive Collection Set of Five Prints, $3200, Net-A-Porter
Prints available individually for $700

 

 

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Monday

12

October 2009

Robertson’s Reads: It’s In the Bag

Written by , Posted in Fashion

Robertson's Reads: It's In the Bag

 

Though not as orderly or thorough as some fashion history books, Winifred Gallagher does a stellar job of looking at the handbag through a pair of Tom Ford shades from a variety of perspectives.

She includes fun and thoughtful interviews with style gurus like Candy Pratts-Price and Ellen Goldstein-Lynch, asking questions that I’d personally probe given the chance. And unlike some q and a’s in fashion books today, this guide reads like a juicy novella, full of tips and tricks to finding the perfect bag.

From Chanel to Hermes, Gallagher does her insightful duty researching why ‘it’ bags are on the arms of the world’s most powerful women, and why these women choose to carry the bags they do.

The perfect pick-up read to carry in your purse.

It’s in the Bag, by: Winifred Gallagher, $15.72, amazon.ca

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Wednesday

7

October 2009

Robertson’s Reads: A Year in Fashion by Pascal Morche

Written by , Posted in Fashion

A Year in Fashion by Pascal Morche

There are few things I enjoy as much as fashion.

Excepting, perhaps, looking through photographs that depict near-perfect examples of it.

Check this treasury of portraits, quotes, and personal style from Pascal Morche. Morche’s A Year in Fashion is nothing if not inspiring.

Who knew getting dressed could be so much fun?

A Year in Fashion by Pascal Morche, $20.43

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Monday

31

December 2007

Robertson’s Reads: The Seductive Shoe

Written by , Posted in Fashion

Robertson's Reads: The Seductive Shoe

From fashion historian Jonathan Walford comes a comprehensive look at the evolution of footwear through the last four centuries. An amazing history book, The Seductive Shoe features a chronological rundown of unique and relatively unknown details on how shoe design changed with world circumstances. Walford elaborates on changes in shoe production, and how certain shoe styles were originally developed.

Overflowing with vivid photographs (which I think are reminiscent of Bata Shoe Museum’s shoe calendar), this book is an essential footwear glossary and great reference work for aspiring designers and shoe collectors. It also features a fairly well documentated appendix, lisiting popular designer names, though this appendix could have catered to lesser known names.

I certainly recommend The Seductive Shoe for every female; who doesn’t love shoes? It would make an excellent coffee table book, though most readers will have a hard time putting it down.

 

The Seductive Shoe: Four Centuries of Fashion Footwear by Jonathan Walford, $30.24, Amazon.ca

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