A to Z of Style

Image of A to Z of Style
Release Date: 
October 3, 2012
Abrams (Adult)
Reviewed by: 

“Sadly, A to Z of Style is a bit on the boring side.”

The title of A to Z of Style is slightly misleading as to its contents. The book is charmingly illustrated, offering up from the most mundane and common fashion and style words to the most arcane and esoteric, using each as a jumping off point for quotes by famous designers, fashion clients, writers, critics, and fashion mavens.

To be more precise, here are a few words from the “fashion vernacular” under the microscope: buttons, which actually comes with a declarative definition and then has a quote from Schiaparelli—and we all know that Schiaparelli was widely known for her love of buttons. Then there is models with an accompanying quote by Yves St Laurent; and one from Diana Vreeland commenting on handbags.

For this reviewer, the particular verbiage served up is lost due the sources that Ms. de la Haye has selected and her choices as to who should be quoted to bolster the word. The book is clearly weighted to the more esoteric as many of the personalities quoted are certainly not names that would easily roll off the tip of any fashionophile’s tongue. There is also the fact that the words should have been far more intriguing. Buttons? Really?

Any reader of fashion wants to be able to be reminded of the great designers and their points of view as well as being educated. Many of those quotes are truly arcane and really not as amusing or educational as one might have hoped for. The result is the book becomes rather dull rather than a lighthearted and fun romp through the glossary of fashion and style.

Sadly, A to Z of Style is a bit on the boring side.

The criticism may be a tad harsh, but it is possible the reader is not a U.S. one and more probably European, but there are not many anywhere who would easily recognize the names of Anne Fogarty, Elizabeth Hawes, Betty Page (not the pin up girl), or Margaret Story and be amused or taken with what they have to say.

This American reviewer? Not so much.