amateur reviews of two introductory books written 20 years apart covering 20th Century men's fashion. Neither have cool bindings or much avant-garde material, sorry, but I think they are worthy introductions for the noob interested in how current fashion borrows from the past. I've included a lot of photos so I'll break this into two posts.
100 Years of Menswear
by Cally Blackman
Published 2009. A basic, but fairly thorough overview covering everything from The Duke of Windsor to the Thin White Duke. No real crticial analysis, more of an historical survey. Arranged chronologically by theme (The Suit, The Player, The Rebel, etc.), the book includes a lot of great vintage photos, many of which I'd never seen before either printed or in the net-o-sphere. Nice pithy introduction, dynamic layout, and short chapter texts and captions. The highlight for me was the Player section. Every sport seems to have had some specialized jacket or knit or headgear that would make some pretty cool streetwear today. The book has a strong start and covers a lot of the early subcultures from the 60s to the 90s, but then sort of trails off with a skimpy designer section starting with Ralph Lauren and ending with Thom Browne. Still a worthy addition to your general fashion library. Design is bold, clean and modern. Very 2000s. Cool shot of Bowie on the cover. I nominate it for one of LA Guy's contest door prizes.
An excerpt from the introduction:
"Men are also largely responsible for introducing subcultural modes of dress, that is clothes worn by a minority to oppose or to reject the societal and sartorial norms of a dominant culture. From the 1920s undergraduate wearing his Oxford bags to the New Romantic of the 1980s, via gangster, zoot suiters, Zazous, Teddy boys, hippies, mods and punks, male subcultural styles have had an all-pervading effect on fashion. In our now-fragmented society and kaleidoscopic culture of contemporary fashion, where anything goes, subversion or resistance through dress is no longer necessary or meaningful; the potency of this strategy has been dissipated. However, designers continue to reference historical subcultural styles in their search for inspiration."
Edited by Parker - 4/7/13 at 9:40pm
lots of images (Click to show)
The Suit -- Oxford bags, plus fours and hats. Proto-Pitti.
Worker & Soldier -- Heritage-y
Gustav Klimt in an indigo-dyed smock -- going commando. Freedom! Simplicity!
Misguided Futurists trying to abolish fashion by creating their own... fashion.
i-D and The Face mag editorials
Jil / Raf / Hedi