Sunday, February 19, 2012

Forgotten Fashion: An Illustrated Faux History

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"Forgotten Fashion: An Illustrated Faux History of Outrageous Trends and Their Untimely Demise", by Kate Hahn, is a collection of 28 stories of imagined, fantastic and funny fashions from early 20th Century to today.  Published in 2008, illustrations which are absolutely the best, include Andrae Gonzalo of Project Runway, and 8 others.  Having just finished yet another course taught by Ivan Sayers: Fashion's Olio Folio: A History of Women's Small Chic Accessories, 1770-1970, at SFU downtown, my eye is automatically drawn to books, pictures, art, movies and street fashion, both chic and outrageous.  When I saw this book, I couldn't resist buying it.  (The bookstore at SFU downtown is fantastic and has many bargains!)Soft cover, "Forgotten Fashion" contains 2-3 page stories, each illustrated in colour and totally reflective of the history and trends of the day. Look at some of the titles: Hood-Olo, (a tribute to the current hoody), Emotionally Distressed Jeans, (Don't we all have a pair?) Adididas, (Counterfeit Superstar sneakers) Beige Lame, Fidelity Cardigan, and many more. I love 1957 - Four O'Clock Dress -For Abject and Idle Afternoons.  This one has inner pockets for x rated delights like gin and tiny erotic novels and who knows what else?  One can only dream.  The shoulder clasp opens to reveal your handy make-up compact, so while you are gazing over your shoulder, you can check your own image and repair, if necessary.  What happened to this one - too many heavy volumes in the pockets and so its demise.  The Robe De Champagne was a very special bridal gown designed by Stumpy, an American GI and Medic who not only could sew but could also create exquisite scented smelling salts. Consider the transfer of skills from the trenches of the battlefield to the trenches and battlefields of the fashion industry.  Lastly, the Body Muff, a garment created by Kitty Van Bleuve to make a fashion statement on the ice rinks of New York.  Shaped like a banana, (perhaps to reflect the fortune her husband made on the plantations)the fur and velvet hobble muff dress, protected her from the cold, took her mind off the horrible and unfashionable isolation of the farm and helped her make the fashion statement of the year.  Unfortunately, when the heavy velvet got wet, she fell through the ice and that was the end of her and her Body Muff.  This is a book that will make you laugh and yet marvel at the creations of the authors/illustrators.

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