Tom Ford Magnificent


Tom Ford an American fashion designer, filmmaker, perfumer, etc. Ford brings a hard-edged style synonymous with 21st century glamour to his clothes. He is a fashion icon and anything he touches makes lots of money for the fashion houses he manages. We just received a massive book on the history of his collections that highlights the best of Tom Ford’s years at Gucci and YSL.

Ford transformed Gucci from a dull seen its day accessories house into a powerhouse of fashion. In 1994 he took the dying fashion house and introduced velvet hip hip-huggers paired with skinny bright satin shirts. The images of model Amber Valletta and Madonna wearing these suggestive pieces are iconic to Ford’s collection.


In 1995, Ford, stylist French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino created an ad campaign that increased Gucci’s sales 90%. Tom Ford brought the almost bankrupt Gucci to be valued at $10 billion when he left in 1999. He went on to be  Creative Director for YSL, created YSL fragrances like Opium with the usual sexualized ad, and his own White and Black Orchid scents.



This book is a complete catalog of Ford’s design work for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from 1994 to 2004 and was created with cooperation with Ford. It is Ford’s testament to a career full of reinventing the boundaries of style and sensuality in clothing.

Click below  for the book.



“Punk: Chaos to Couture”


The Met’s spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today. Featuring approximately one hundred designs for men and women, the exhibition will include original punk garments and recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” the seven galleries will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Themes will include New York and London, which will tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by Clothes for Heroes and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic—HardwareBricolageGraffiti and Agitprop, and Destroy.

Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.

Videos from the show

The catalog for the show is on order in the Arts Division.



Read more at the NYT and here .

Books on Punk and Fashion











Fashion: From Jazz to Vogue’s Eye

Two new fashion books have arrived in the Art Division. One covers the glamorous world of 1920s fashion and the other celebrates the role the fashion editor has played at Vogue for 120 years.


Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, retraces the work of Vogue’s legendary fashion editors including Pally Mellen, Babs Simpson, and Grace Coddington. These women collaborated with photographers, designers and stylists to create the fantasy world (for most of us anyway) of fashion. The book focuses on Vogue‘s dazzling archive of images that have had an impact on fashion, music, and culture. This book is lavish in its design and photographs. These editors had and still do have a vision when it comes to presenting the world of high fashion.


The 1920s was one of the most stylish and influential fashion periods full of feathers, beads, sequins, and anything to over indulge in. After all this was a time of highly decorated Erte dresses and Art Deco.

Dressed to Kill: Jazz Age Fashion, brings us into that legendary elegant world of the 20s. This collection of photographs comes from Virginia, the most fabulous renowned antique clothing store in London. Many stylists, designers, models and museums use this store as their go to place for dresses, coats, and accessories from this time period. All are carefully preserved offering inspiration from this glittering time to all who are looking for the craftsmanship and ornamentation of this important fashion period. This is a lavish book, full of exquisite photographs. Indulge!


Dandies and Muses: Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity


A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates fashion, art and their love of fashion  in 19th century Paris. This exhibit  illustrates how artists such as Monet, Seurat, Degas,  and other Impressionists responded to fashion between the 1860s and mid-1880s. With both masculine and feminine attire exhibited  we see the dialogue between art and fashion of the late nineteenth-century Parisian looks that inspired art of the day.

Fashion between those years was at its most beautiful. Opulent fabrics, the corset, tiny waists, stripes, gloves, bustles, and bows, all raised femininity to its highest. This was a pivotal time period for fashion and for Paris when the city emerged as a fashion mecca.

During these years Parisians saw a radical change in their city. Broad new avenues were places to be seen and the department store came into vogue. Ready-to-wear was suddenly available and the proliferation of fashion magazines allowed urban dwellers to see what they could expect in the new shops that were opening along these boulevards. Paris was a place to be seen and with so many choices the bourgeois women might change her outfit up to eight times a day.

As women and men began to look their best artists of the time period began to paint them in their high fashions. The mood portrayed by the Impressionists was one of vibrancy and seductive beauty with tightly corseted waists and elaborate decolletes that were on display in ballrooms and at the opera. An almost party like atmosphere was on display in art at this time. That atmosphere can be seen in Monet’s painting Luncheon on the Grass and in Jean Beraud’s An Evening Soiree.


Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Luncheon on the Grass


 Jean Beraud An Evening Soiree

In Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory, he painted his wife standing in a sunlight conservatory wearing a tightly corseted light summer frock. This exhibit pairs Bartholomé’s this life-size portrait portrait of Prosperie de Fleury Bartholomé in her purple striped dress with the actual dress she posed in.


Artists such as Manet and Degas shared an interest in shopping and both admired seeing the man as Dandies in their dark suits or frock coats and cuffs. This look contrasted with the opulence of the female companion’s attire. Monet particularly transferred this interest into his brightly colored paintings full of women and men both smartly dressed.

Some highlights of this exhibition include Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass (1865–66) and Women in the Garden (1866), Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory(circa 1881, paired with the sitter’s dress), and Degas’s The Millinery Shop(circa 1882–86) from the Art Institute of Chicago; Renoir’s The Loge (1874) from The Courtauld Gallery, London; and Cassatt’s In the Loge (1878) from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

NN ArtLibrarian@Central

The Art Division has a large selection books about this time period as seen below. This is just a sample sample of what we own. Click on image to access our catalog.














Why have shoes and shoe styles captivated us for thousands of years? A totally utilitarian part of clothing and yet, as someone said recently to me, a pair of shoes can really tell you about a person. “The world’s oldest leather shoe, made from a single piece of cowhide laced with a leather cord along seams at the front and back, was found in a cave in Armenia in 2008 and is believed to date to 3,500 B.C. In 1999, Nick Swinmurn founded Zappos, an online shoe shop. In 2001, Zappos more than quadrupled their yearly sales, bringing in $8.6 million and in 2009 was bought by Amazon for a whopping $1.2 billion! We do love our shoes. Find out more about the apparel that has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture and that has brought us both pleasure and pain, the shoe…

Shoes :history from sandals to sneakers

Shoes :history from sandals to sneakers

100 Shoes

100 Shoes





Where will this shoe take you? : walk through the history of footwear

Where will this shoe take you? : walk through the history of footwear

High heels :fashion. femininity, seduction

High heels :fashion. femininity, seduction

Jimmy Choo XV

Jimmy Choo XV

Blahník by Boman :shoes, photographs, conversation

Blahník by Boman :shoes, photographs, conversation

Every step a lotus: shoes for bound feet

Every step a lotus: shoes for bound feet

Fashion footwear, 1800-1970

Fashion footwear, 1800-1970

Hot shoes :100 years

Hot shoes :100 years

The Real Frida Look: Frida Kahlo’s Clothes

On November 20, 2012 the world can see some of what belonged to Frida Kahlo. An exhibit opens at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.  After being locked away for 50 years viewers can now see the billowing colorful skirts and blouses Kahlo wore. They will also feel the physical and emotional pain they covered up. The museum will display a full collection from her wardrobe. These dresses, jewelery , and shoes have been locked away for 50 years in her dressers. These clothes still retain her perfume and cigarette scents.

Frida’s choice of clothing reflected things she experienced in life. Frida suffered from polio as a child and a then bus accident at 18 caused her great pain throughout her life. The clothes she chose to wear functioned as armor for her pain. Her long skirts hid her tiny right leg and she wore corsets for back pain. Emotional pain was caused by miscarriages and the many affairs she had to suffer through that her husband muralist Diego Rivera engaged in.

As she covered up pain, at the same time was exuberant in her self-confidence. Her clothes as her artwork were full of color. Kahlo’s style has influenced many artists, designers and musicians, like Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier. There are youtube clips on how to dress like her, do makeup like hers, and braid hair like hers.

After Kahlo died in 1954, her husband ordered her clothes to be locked up for 15 years. He died three years later, leaving art collector Dolores Olmedo as the manager of his wife’s collection. She refused to give access to Kahlo’s archives of letters, clothes, jewelry and photographs and they were not unlocked until 2004 after Olmedo died.

Museum director Hilda Trujillo said three of Kahlo’s dresses created a frenzy when they were shown in 2007, featured in fashion stories across the world. No doubt this opening of her personal wardrobe will create another frenzy.

This exhibit will display the white corset that Kahlo featured in her self-portrait “The Broken Column.”

And there will be an earring that was a gift from Pablo Picasso and was featured in a 1940 self-portrait and the mate has never been found. Kahlo’s blouses were custom made; she bought the fabrics and took them to Indian seamstresses. Often she bought velvet cherry, the fabric often used for traditional elegant dresses in Oaxaca region known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Tehuana dress, was named after the Indian women of that region and wad said to be Kahlo’s signature piece of clothing.

As women during Kahlo’s life were highly influenced by her style and this exhibit will no doubt expose younger women around the world to her style.

Read more at the links below.

The Real Frida Look: Frida Kahlo’s Clothes Go on Exhibit in Mexico After 50 Years Locked Away

The Real Frida Kahlo

Museo Frida Kahlo

Some Items at the Central Library about Frida Kahlo
we have much more



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