Thursday, September 10, 2009

Books on Fashion and Books with Fashion

I discovered the other day that Australia has it's very own book dedicated to vintage clothing about to hit bookshelves. Love Vintage: A Passion for Collecting Fashion is out in late October (maybe in time for the bi-annual Sydney vintage fair?) and is written by Nicole Jenkins, costume designer and owner of premier Melbourne vintage store CIRCA.

The blurb about the book says:
'Love Vintage covers both the glamorous and everyday garments of the past and, despite the apparent complexity of some, shows how each was perfectly designed to suit the occasion for which it was worn. They were ultimately so much more functional, wearable and sustainable than the clothing of today.
The book also contains a wealth of information about fashion design, of high value to both the experienced and novice collector, together with an inspirational collection of photography that helps describe each piece to its full. Also included are valuable notes on dress construction, vintage designers, and fabrics.'

I love the cover and am so excited I'm putting my pre-order in now.

In a highly imperfect segue, my post on books about fashion is turning into one about fashion in books. A fellow blogger - the lovely Franca over at Oranges and Apples - alerted me to this fabulous Guardian photo-shoot with actress Emily Mortimer. In a stroke of divine inspiration, Emily is dressed as a number of famous literary heroines.

‘I should put on my red dress and it would be thin as a veil ... It would make a flower shape as I sank down, in the middle of the room, on a gilt chair’ - The Waves, Virginia Woolf

‘They hadn’t tampered with her natural beauty, yet somehow they had succeeded in heightening it ... She wore eye make-up and her hair was fuller, like a lion’s mane. She still looked every inch the lady, but she was exciting now’ - Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann

'A woman can never be too fine while she is all in white. No, I see no finery about you; nothing but what is perfectly proper’ - Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
‘Her dress was richly trimmed with Venetian lace. In her black hair, all her own, she wore a little garland of pansies’ - Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

'She wore a slim, cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker ... Her mouth was large, her nose upturned. A pair of dark glasses blotted out her eyes’ - Breakfast at Tiffanys, Truman Capote*
*Of course Emily looks distinctly like the Audrey Hepburn version of Holly Golightly rather than the Truman Capote Holly Golightly, although I guess the film version of the character is so iconic now she has rather eclipsed the original. Truman Capote envisaged Marilyn Monroe for the film role but when I was reading it - and I must admit I stopped seeing Audrey after a while as the book has such a different flavour - I imagined someone who looked like a blonde Natalie Wood.

At the moment I'm reading, for the first time, the classic I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. It's the kind of book you want to crawl up and read in an old chair in a cold room, smothered by a big rug and with a dog at your feet. Come to think of it, not unlike the narrator Cassandra. As I mused on clothes within literature today, these lines in the book particularly caught my attention:

'Then my brain began to pick out the bits it wanted to think about and I realised the day made a pattern of clothes - first our white dresses in the early morning, then the consciousness of what people were wearing in London, then Aunt Millicent's poor dead clothes, then all the exquisite things in the shop, then our furs. And I thought how important clothes were to women and always had been.'

Well said Cassandra, and now it is time for bed and the next exciting chapter!


Oranges And Apples said...

Thank you for the linkage, i'm always happy when people use what I post. Just a tiny thing though: my blog is oranges and apples, not apples and oranges.

Louise said...

I fixed it!
That's what happens when you blog on four hours sleep.

Andi B. Goode said...

That's a wonderful quote - I've never read that book! I'm currently reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, which aren't exactly of the same calibre and the only talk about clothes is to describe exactly what each person is wearing, which I always find a bit dull.
And thanks for much for posting about that first book - it looks great!
-Andi x

Ms. B said...

Thanks for the book recommendation! That's a really wonderful photo shoot, I've never seen it before!

Nicole said...

Thank you for mentioning my Book! It's actually being launched at the Sydney vintage fair on Friday October 16th so if you can make it, perhaps I can sign a copy for you?
have also added you to my links page.