Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: 100 Years of Fashion Illustration by Cally Blackman

Description: A visual feast of 400 dazzling images, this is a comprehensive survey of the genre over the last century. This book also offers an overview of the development of fashion, as seen through the eyes of the greatest illustrators of the day. Early in the century fashion illustration reflected new and liberating currents in art and culture, such as the exoticism of the Ballets Russes, while the postwar period saw inspiration from the great Parisian couturiers. After the dominance of the celebrity fashion photographer in the '60s, a new generation of illustrators emerged, embracing the medium of the computer, while many returned to more traditional techniques.

Stats: Art Non-Fiction, 384 pages, Published y Laurence King Publishers, April 2007.

My Rating: 4 STARS

I just love looking at beautiful art! My love of fashion is directly influenced by my love of art. In my experience very little really separates the two and this book only cements that idea. It's this love of pretty things that has me addicted to websites like Pinterest, Style, and Etsy. While I'm among the few that are still clinging to my beloved fashion magazines trying to get past all the advertisements to the meaty bits for my couture cravings. Even with all the competition what has me loving 100 Years of Fashion Illustration is that here I got to see something entirely different then anything I've ever experienced with fashion. It's a trip through time and design as you're presented with all these amazing illustrations of beautiful women in beautiful dresses.

With each image there is also a little write up about the cloths, when it was drawn, by who, and for what purpose. It's great to see the illustration and then actually learn about the cloths being shown. It's more then what I expected! Attribution is one thing, but the research put into the cloths themselves is very interesting.
There are also full 4 page essays throughout the book that talk about the time periods giving us readers a look at the production, history, and specific events that influenced fashion.

I'm not all raves about this book though. The formatting was completely wasteful of the space it had and frustratingly so! It could have easily been better formatted to fit more into less space. One example is where there are pages with an image that takes up the top 40-50% of the page and then below it is half a page of white space. I could fit my whole hand laid flat across the page and not cover anything but the white space. This is more than enough room to work with. You don't want a book like this to feel too crowded, giving such beautiful work space to breath is a good thing, but you also want it to be an immersive and stunning experience.

This leads into my biggest complaint: the price. This is the sort of book you want to own and absorb inspiration from. I could picture this on my table no problem, even with my frustrations with the white space, but with a $50 Canadian price tag that definitely won't ever happen. I know table books generally go for a lot, but I've seen other collections like this one produced better and for less.

It's disappointing because I really did love the content of this book. It's was amazing to see the artistry that goes fashion and see the illustrations that just bring the cloths to life in a whole new way! But unfortunately, the devil is in the details.

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