Friday, June 23, 2017

Black Raspberries, and 2 More Costume Books

I love summer. These taste excellent; I am surprised the birds haven't eaten them all, but maybe they prefer the seeds in the feeder.

I found a couple more fun costume books! The first one is a look at some of the historic men's clothing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is beginning to have a world-class collection of Western costume.

There are gorgeous photos of items in the collection, and some very good essays to go with them--it is a little annoying to read, because the clothes are grouped more by theme than by chronological order, and that bugs me--fashion is very organic, with one silhouette growing from the previous ones, so to really understand the context I think it's important to show things in the order they came--you can do insets or pairings of "historically inspired" items, but every period has it's own distinct branch on the family tree. It was nice to see some history of things like the "Aloha shirt"-- originally a Japanese clothing salesman (Musa-Shiya, 1935) made shirts from kimono fabric and sold them in Hawaii, and it grew from there), and the "Zoot Suit" which was originally based on the "Harvard Baggies" style of the 20's but made more stylish by Filipino and African-American adaptors in the late 30's and 40's. There was even some tidbits from modern Nigerian and Congolese men's fashion--I would love to see a whole book devoted to these. It's a worthwhile read and not too expensive for a pretty coffeetable book.

Then there was this book: "Costume Close-Up" by Linda Baumgarten and John Watson
This book is totally the cat's pajamas. I took a fail photo of the cover:

But look inside--the authors took just a few sample pieces, and patterned them:

Took reference photos of the front and back, with detail close-ups:

And best of all, photos of the INSIDES:

And I have to say one of the delightful things of seeing the inside of someone else's fantastic historic gown, is to see places where the sewer just said EFF MY LIFE and cut in a little bridge piece of fabric, or slapped trim over some questionable area, or went back and added some support or just plain sewed something on crooked and said I MEANT TO DO THAT. The struggle is universal.

The book also shows the tools used for pinking and other neat things. It is a treasure!

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