Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress: Patterns for 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons
“This book should be sold in books stores under the crafts and how-to sections rather than in the fashion or design sections.”
According to Amazon.com there are well over 20 books that carry that magic phrase or moniker: LBD or Little Black Dress. There is no question that the phrase or abbreviation is synonymous with fashion ever since it was coined by Mademoiselle Chanel. As is the case with so many of these symbolic appellations, so many are a stretch of the term or more simply said poor relations to what was intended at the onset.
Famous Frocks starts with a very original premise and without question targets a very specific reader. Ms. O’Shea is one of a long list who has taken it upon herself to believe that she has the credentials to write a book . . . any book. It should be stated unequivocally that she is a pattern maker first, a designer last, and an only moderately talented writer who needs to enlarge her fashion vocabulary and understand that this is not a minor whimsical undertaking on her part. She seems to think that she knows of what she speaks and then all you need do is try to match her descriptions to the photographs used as examples and you soon realize that . . . oops!
As for the technical part of this book, which takes up far more real estate than the rest, well, it was beyond me! This book should be aimed at the home sewer. If the reader is not a skilled home sewer or pattern maker then he or she will be as much in the dark as this reviewer. Keep in mind that a good part of my fashion education and experience came from garment construction and being part of the manufacturing process.
What is possibly the most disturbing of all is the lack of education of those who edit a book like this, let alone an author who should know better or just stick to what she does best. For some odd reason, Famous Frocks has this kitschy 50s vibe via the photographs that are employed, and one has to wonder why this is attractive. On one hand, the reader or sewer might think that the frocks are classics, and on the other hand the reader might wonder how far a stretch from reality these dresses are.
As has been the rule thumb for so many of these similar titles, the choices or candidates that are used to represent are always a matter of preference rather than reality or fact. In this instance, the author has neglected to state that many of these pieces are rather dated even with their so-called updates or modifications.
This book should be sold in books stores under the crafts and how-to sections rather than in the fashion or design sections.