In continuation with my last portion of the haul being based on literature, I figured I'd share this fantastic book that I had recently returned to the library titled Forgotten Fashion: An Illustrated Faux History of Outrageous Trends and Their Untimely Demise by Kate Hahn. It also features the following illustrators: Dena Blankmeyer, Teri Chung, Elizabeth Dran, Andraé Gonzalo, Amelia Haviland, Annie Lim, Lily Ng, Alison Petrie, Isabella Scotto. What?! Pictures in a grown person's book?! Damn straight people, because what would a book on fashion, especially "forgotten" fashion, be like without art to accompany it? Anyway, let's get into the synopsis:
A Never-Before-Told History of Doomed-to-fail faux fashion. If you stockpile back issues of Vogue, plan your schedule around Project Runway--and have a well-dressed funny bone--you'll love this collection!
Mixing fictional designers, made-up muses, and totally imaginary trendsetters with real people and places Forgotten Fashion traces the brith, life and death of faux trends with intelligent humor.
These are the stories behind such formerly unsung sartorial concoctions as a Jazz Age flapper dress made entirely of ice; a mid-century French evening gown inspried by a refrigerator; a pair of Depression Era satin pajamas popularized by Hollywoood with the help of an African elephant named Jins; an Eighties suit made with gilded pinstripes; and the littlest little black dress, ever; along with many other creations that will surpries, shock, and delight you.
From the Body Muff (1905) to the Fidelity Cardigan (1943) to Emotionally Distressed Jeans (1998), each faux fashion is sewn with wit and brought to life in fabulous full-color illustrations.
Sadly, each of the faux trends in this volume met an untimely if not tragic demis. They were the victimes of a veriety of misfortunes includeing bad weather, long wars, short tempers, wild animals, poorly formulate fabric blends, and even their creators , who include several Paris-trained couturiers a Milanese tailor, a bourgeois Swiss teenager, and a man known only as "Hugo."
So open this book and peruse. Much like shopping along a crooked street of stores, you'll discover a collections of surprises.
My Thoughts: Hysterical! Amusing! Fascinating!
Now for a more in depth analysis: The book consists of short stories broken down in a chronological way. The actual stories are well-written with a great amount of wit put into the stories and tying the actual historical events of the time periods to the clothing. It makes a great show of how fashion isn't just some clothes draped upon individuals but a reflection of the issues taking place in society like other forms of art. At the same time, it takes the role of a satirical work that pokes fun of actual fashion choices made in the day and brings the reader to think what it would have been like if these stories were real instead of faux history. To top it off, the works of the illustrators are fantastic and add an enlightening vision to the fashion choices described in the stories. Though we are accustomed to using such imagery to think of it for ourselves, I liked the fact that actual fashion illustrators participated added to the story and gave it further life. I liked them so much, I was slightly wishing there was truth to the stories and that some of these could be found somewhere in the world! Ultimately, what really struck me were the issues faced that led to the downfall of each trend, as they were, again, reminiscent of issues faced by many in these time periods and left me pondering further about this alternate universe in fashion and the effect it could have had on us all (blame the philosopher in me to make it serious). A fun work altogether and a delightful read, I think I'll be adding this to my book collection, and find that there will be a source of amusement/inspiration for all fashionistas who pick it up. Also if you want to check out more regarding the book and even see a video in which Andraé Gonzalo of Project Runway fame shows the process he went through to create some of the art he put into the book, check out the Forgotten Fashion website.
Normally I provide my fave quotes but I decided to instead tease you guys with some of my fave illustrations without giving too much away:
Picasso Patchwork (1916) Chung
Ponchettes (1970) Chung
Hospitalia (1987) Dran
Before ending this post, I'd like to make mention of the following:
an interview with The Compassion Fashion Project as "