Fashion that Changed the World

Image of Fashion That Changed the World
Release Date: 
September 16, 2014
Prestel Publishing
Reviewed by: 

Make this a must read for those who are deeply involved and immersed in world of fashion as well for novices who want to use this book as a primer for the history of fashion.”

At this time of year one comes to expect the biggest and glossiest of books that are full of fabulous photos and illustrations to decorate your coffee table, make for great gifts, and wow the  reader. So it is a bit of a great surprise that a humble sized book on fashion such as Fashion that Changed the World can actually dazzle the reader with its content, specifically what is written and not photos and illustrations.

On Princess Di: “It wasn’t until after her calamitous divorce from Charles that she really defined her look: a short bob confidently swept off her face (a style that caused hair gel sales to spike), simple lines, and clean tailoring—and a lot of Versace numbers. . . .

Jennifer Croll accomplishes what so many fail to do when writing a somewhat historical telling of fashion and its influences over the course of time. Ms. Croll delivers a superbly contemporary viewpoint on the many aspects and facets of history that influenced modern fashion as well delving into some of its well documented and lesser known history.

Ms. Croll tells the story of fashion with no pretense and without trying to impress the reader with her knowledge on the subject. By doing so, Fashion that Changed the World becomes a book that educates and entertains like few others of this genre due to her somewhat conversational way of presenting her points. Simply said, she tells it like it is without any artifice or icing.

On Halston: “In 1982 he made a monumental decision that today is practically banal, but in the 80s it was sacrilege . . .”

And this: “The first real queen of style was Elizabeth I.”

If one had to find fault with the book, the only thing that might be considered a detriment is its lack of photographic or illustrative evidence, but what is so amazing is that the book really doesn’t suffer from this shortage. It is the rare instance for a book on this subject that the written word outweighs the visual content, at least for the seasoned fashionphile.

On fashion photography: “The post war era was a hot time for fashion photography . . . when two of the biggest photographers came on the scene: Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.”

Ms. Croll has a way with words that simply engages the reader on many different levels but is always to the point and without being overly fact-filled or preachy. She speaks quite frankly on so many subjects that are sidestepped or avoided in books based on the origins and influences of fashion. Again it must be reiterated, that all of it is told in the most conversational of ways.

On digital fashion: “Online [publications strived to mimic the style and tone of print publications using editorial layouts that look much like what you’d seen on a printed page—echoes of Alexey Brodovitch in the digital world . . .”

Make this a must read for those who are deeply involved and immersed in world of fashion as well for novices who want to use this book as a primer for the history of fashion.