The Killer Detail: Defining Moments in Fashion: Sartorial Icons from Cary Grant to Kate Moss
". . . offers an entirely different perspective on the world of fashion . . ."
The first thing that must be said is that this is not your run of the mill fashion book. This is an amazing and varied collection of people who have been labeled style icons—what each offers is their “killer detail” or the sartorial flourish that sets them apart from the fray.
What puzzles me is how and why the authors arrived at this assemblage and just how far of a stretch it is that these personalities can be called style icons. Some names are totally unfamiliar and some totally familiar. There are the expected celebrities and dandies of the day to the most arcane names such as Jacques Prevert, Dani & Zouzou, Yukio Mishima, and then the most unlikely candidates such as Edward Norton, W. H. Auden, Anais Nin, Willy DeVille, and Francoise Sagan. Maybe this is the book that will appeal to the fashion intelligentsia as well as the fashionably curious.
Nevertheless, this a text that will capture your interest as it details some of the subjects’ life history as well as pointing out that one unique quality that sets them apart, albeit all predicated upon that one particular photograph. It should be noted that these photos are snapped by some of the most famous lensmen of the 20th century including Mapplethorpe, Newton, Isserman, and Lindbergh.
Somehow, the expectation of the contents did not live up to its title as “the killer detail’ seems to be of the one off variety or a singular instance rather than something that was affected by each personality not at a given moment or at least most of the time. Just as a for instance, you might conjure than Greta Garbo was very attached to her Verdura link bracelet which she wore quite often and was photographed wearing may times rather than her wearing a coat in some randomly taken photo.
The takeaway here is simply that if you are searching for a different type of fashion book that requires reading and not just perusing, then this may be what you are looking for as The Killer Detail certainly offers an entirely different perspective on the world of fashion.
Reviewer Jeffrey Felner is a dedicated participant and nimble historian in the businesses of fashion and style. Decades of experience allow him to pursue almost any topic relating to fashion and style with unique insight and unrivaled acumen.