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Fashion - The 50 Most Influential Fashion Designers of All Time by Bonnie English Books in Review
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Fashion - The 50 Most Influential Fashion Designers of All Time
by Bonnie English
ISBN 978-0-7641-6294-7
Published February 2010 - Hardcover - 128 pages - $14.99

This little book serves as a tribute to "the industry's 50 most influential personalities of the last 150 years, and chronicles 10 of the most significant developments and trends in the fashion world".  Fashion as we know it, has come a long way, and has delivered us with many a fine frock over the years.  Bonnie English, art and design historian lecturer, offers coverage and brief inspections of Haute Couture; Designer Wear/Prêt-à-Porter; Contemporary Avant-Garde, and Accessories/Leisurewear.  In my own life, I have seen the likes of miniskirts, platform shoes (undergoing a huge comeback at the moment), bell-bottoms, hot pants, mid-riffs, halter necks, stiletto heels, maxi skirts, shoulder pads, and the like, many of which have more recently been revived over and over again.  And, I'm not talking about haute couture (way out of my range), just the everyday street fashion as it were.  English's book begins with the first couturier, Englishman (believe it or not) Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) (the most gorgeous perfume as well, called Worth je Reviens) and Madeleine Vionnet (queen of the Bias Cut).  We've all seen fashion shows (more likely on television than in person), or red carpet events where the top question is often, "Who are you wearing?", to know what these designers put out these days (some are too ghastly for practical wearing — but definite works-of-art, while most are still elegant and classic) and to appreciate the hideous prices.  Paul Poiret, perhaps the first all-rounder in fashion (designer of many innovative styles, had his own interior furnishings business, and his own perfumes) is an interesting read.  Other well knowns include Jean Patou, Lanvin, Coco Chanel, Dior, Armani, Valentino, Saint Laurent, and Zandra Rhodes.  Of course many of the "houses" continue today and have designers who come and go (some stay) to keep them afloat.  Some of the well-known designers who worked for others include Karl Lagerfeld (who started off at Balmain's, moved to Patou, hopped to Chloé, designed and designs for Fendi, and then to Chanel), Gaultier, and Lacroix.  Of course Prada and Versace and Calvin Klein etc., are also covered.
Conclusion - A great introduction into the world of fashion, and very interesting.

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