Brooches and Badges: Accessories series

Image of Brooches and Badges (V&A Accessories)
Release Date: 
July 9, 2019
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

This monograph has a bit of a disconnect between the chosen subjects. The main focus is on brooches with barely a thread of connection between them and badges. The author proffers history, design, cultural relationships between them as well as some exquisite images. Had this been a coffee table sized book, it would have been spectacular.

“The history of the brooch, and its design are inseparable from the history and design of dress.”

Rachel Church, who is a curator at the V&A, provides so much information about the trends and sociological aspects of her subject matter that the book is variously somewhat thesis-like and fashion oriented, which essentially means that Brooches and Badges has multiple appeals to an assorted and varied readership.

The prospective reader must also keep in mind that all the examples featured in this volume are part of the V&A archive, which, although vast, may not be as comprehensive as needed to bring the point home about the relationship between brooches and badges.

The more advanced fashion reader will find the topic extremely interesting and at times fascinating. Church is kind enough to include a glossary of related terms that may or may not be familiar to all readers but nonetheless provide even more insights than the text of the book itself.

Another feature or facet of this book is that its primary talking point is accessories and not just clothes. The featured images are both of the fine jewelry variety as well as what one might consider corner store merchandise, which opens up a wide range of examples and possibilities in the book.