Vintage Fashion Complete

Image of Vintage Fashion Complete
Release Date: 
November 23, 2014
Chronicle Books
Reviewed by: 

β€œan objective, insightful, well researched, heavily documented and illustrated book . . .”

Vintage Fashion Complete is one of those books whose title might or might not be a misnomer. The fact and reality it is that this is an epic undertaking that looks at the world of vintage clothing and accessories in the most comprehensive, authoritative, and encyclopedic way. Albrechtsen provides the reader with an all-encompassing point of view that is remarkably unbiased and factual without ever being preachy.

If you are expecting a book filled with names from the annals of fashion history, then move on as this is void of such, but if you want to know the origins, the trends, and the evolution of fashion then this is indeed should be your book of choice.

What keeps the reader so rapt is that the approach taken here is not the same path as been taken before by other titles dealing with this area of fashion. For instance, this epic volume uses a physical timeline as only one division or aspect for the book instead of basing its entire format on chronology.

Combine the timeline with trends in fabrics, silhouettes, prints, millinery, shoes, fashion jewelry, swimwear, aprons, and much much more, and it is then that you start to comprehend the full breadth of the subject matter.

Even more to her credit, Albrechtsen unearths some names and trends that have long since been forgotten and yet were major components in the history of fashion such as the brand Mister Pants and a 70s phenomenon of the beaded butterfly top. It is so easy to forget or overlook what existed, when there are marquee names that so often overshadow other brands and trends.

Another case in point is the name of Dorothee Bis which is most certainly overlooked in related titles. The book leans heavily on the Brits of fashion, but given that Albrechtsen is British, well, it is understandable. For some this might be a deficit.

As a summary of sorts, Vintage Fashion Complete serves as a history of fashion as well as a directory of vintage fashion. Albrechtsen is to be applauded for turning out an objective, insightful, well researched, heavily documented and illustrated book that is a credit to her knowledge as well as to the industry, past and present. This is a book to be used as reference, as education, and certainly for pleasure.