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The Holy Grail

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Connemara, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I agree that Apparel Arts is the Holy Grail, but I thought it was a periodical, published over many year's time.
    It was published as Apparel Arts in one form or another from 1931 until 1958, when it became Gentleman's Quarterly. The great years were 1931 to 1939. There were four "main" issues per year, plus "fabrics and fashions" supplements which typically also numbered four per year. The latter were thinner and had less text, but were more densely illustrated. Those are, in my view, even more valuable than the normal issues which had a lot of articles of interest only to retailers, e.g., how to set up an effective window display. All of the issues were hardbound and oversized, with (mostly) full color illustrations and ads. Several also included some swatch cuttings.

    These days, a single issue easily goes for $250 to $400, so getting a complete set of all the great issues from the 30s -- eight per year, for the most part -- is expensive indeed, assuming you can even track them down.

    The book I referred to originally as the Holy Grail is a three-volume Italian reprint of many of the best articles and illustrations that was published in 1989. I have been told that the print run was ridiculously low. One person said 200, another 1,000. Just hearsay, but still.
     
  2. Connemara

    Connemara Senior member

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    I agree that Apparel Arts is the Holy Grail, but I thought it was a periodical, published over many year's time. ebay sellers seem to list partial collections for several hundred dollars.

    My local library also has Esquire's Encyclopedia. I wonder if they would charge me the standard $100 "lost book" fee if I check it out and then "lose" it.[​IMG]


    LOL, I confess to having thought the same thing.
     
  3. thinman

    thinman Senior member

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    It was published as Apparel Arts in one form or another from 1931 until 1958, when it became Gentleman's Quarterly. The great years were 1931 to 1939. There were four "main" issues per year, plus "fabrics and fashions" supplements which typically also numbered four per year. The latter were thinner and had less text, but were more densely illustrated. Those are, in my view, even more valuable than the normal issues which had a lot of articles of interest only to retailers, e.g., how to set up an effective window display. All of the issues were hardbound and oversized, with (mostly) full color illustrations and ads. Several also included some swatch cuttings. These days, a single issue easily goes for $250 to $400, so getting a complete set of all the great issues from the 30s -- eight per year, for the most part -- is expensive indeed, assuming you can even track them down. The book I referred to originally as the Holy Grail is a three-volume Italian reprint of many of the best articles and illustrations that was published in 1989. I have been told that the print run was ridiculously low. One person said 200, another 1,000. Just hearsay, but still.
    Thanks again for a comprehensive lesson, manton. Maybe someday I can stumble across a copy of the Italian reprint. I was unaware it existed. Connemara, I've taken a deep breath and decided to do the right thing, though I may buy a scanner. Doesn't that fall under fair use? Ok...we're doing the right thing....where's that "devil on one shoulder, angel on the other" smilie when you need it?
     
  4. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Bob, please ask your fiancee what is the name of the fancy piece of string found in certain books -- often bibles and other weighty texts -- that is used as a bookmark. I recall reading that there was a big hoopla in librarian circles a few years ago when they finally reached a consensus on the term.


    Her response: "Umm, a bookmark? I don't know."


    sorry,
    bob
     
  5. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    I always called it a 'ribbon marker'.
     
  6. Jolly Green

    Jolly Green Well-Known Member

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    Re: Esquire's Encyclopedia, I recently purchased this book on ebay. Have read the first 2 chapters on The Suit and The Sportcoat (about 50 pages each).

    For those looking for "the rules" on how to dress, and only passively interested in how menswear in America has progressed over the years, this is not the book for you. This is a book that tells you how, when and where tweed, for example, became fashionable. Maybe who wore it first and why. This will not (directly, at least) tell you how to wear tweed. It literally breakes down each chapter by decade and then discusses them by year and season and reads like, well, an encyclopedia. The pictures are great.

    Esquire's Encyclopedia does have its place as the primary book on the historical development of menswear (and for that reason it is excellent). But IMHO, this is the book for someone who has everything else. Those trying to learn how to improve their wardrobe, $400 could be spent much better on Mantons book, Flussers books, Boyers books, and Blockbuster charges for Cary Grant movies.


    Cheers,
    D
     

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