Thursday, 13 June 2013

New in at Last-Year Girl Books: Fashion in the 60s, Dorian Leigh Autobiography, The Opulent Era and more

I've been making it my mission to update my Etsy shop, Last-Year Girl Books, each weekend with some new titles. Here are some of my favourite recent additions, all available to buy now:

Fashion in the 60s by Barbara Bernard is a great pocket sized introduction to the fashions of this decade. It was published in 1978 so its take on the fashions of the era is an interesting alternative to our own interpretations of the 60s. That said, Mary Quant, Biba, Ossie Clark are all well-accounted for, and there's plenty of images of Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Peggy Moffitt and the like...

You may remember I wrote about another amazing model last year, Dorian Leigh, who was at the height of her fame in the 1950s. The Girl Who Had Everything is her fascinating autobiography: four/five husbands, working with photographers like Irving Penn and Richard Avedon and inspiring the character Holly Golightly: she's got more than enough juicy subject matter to write about!

Practical Home Dressmaking is a wonderfully useful 1940s book explaining the arts of dressmaking, from getting a perfect fit to making all the trimmings and embellishments you could possibly want. I especially like the section on how to set up your own sewing room - I can only dream.

More home comforts - or should that be truths? - in Osbert Lancaster's 1939 Homes Sweet Homes. It's a survey of domestic decoration in Britain from Norman times up to the Second World War. Each style is given its own illustration (complete with comedic inhabitants) and witty commentary. I'm quite a fan of the practical bookcase and decorative cactus in the 'Functional' room shown above. I'll pass on the pipe and slippers though.

Finally, for sheer clothes lust, I'd like to recommend The Opulent Era: Fashions of Worth, Doucet and Pingat, a glimpse into the lavish couture created at the end of the nineteenth-century and originally published to accompany an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. With its excellent scholarly text, and perfectly posed museum mannequins and studio photography, it's about as far away as you can get from my first book, Fashion in the 60s, in book form. But every good book collection is built on variety, right?

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