AB: Fukai – Fashion – Kyoto

(This is an entry in the Annotated Bibliography.)

*Fukai, Akiko, Ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute). 2006 edition published by Barnes & Noble by arrangement. Köln: Taschen, 2006.

Commonly referred to as “the Kyoto book” by historical costumers, this is widely considered one of the essentials. It has been published in multiple forms; this Barnes and Noble edition is a single volume as opposed to earlier two-volume editions, and pages are smaller but there are some additional pages included in this edition which are not in others. The book offers an immense quantity of artistically arranged, glossy full-color photographs of numerous costumes in the museum’s collection, ranging from the 18th century all the way through the 20th, almost exclusively very fine or formal clothing; 20th century garments are primarily designer offerings in the haute couture range. There is little in the way of “ordinary” clothing in this book, but it offers a beautiful look at high fashion’s changes over time, with overall very good text, though it sometimes leans toward the overly artsy approach. The clothing is almost entirely Western, despite the collection being in a Japanese museum. The book is certainly useful in the study of 19th century costume, although its offerings specific to any one narrow period are limited, given the sheer scope of the book. It is recommended widely by historical costumers. It is not instructional. It is almost entirely composed of glossy, full-color photographs. Contains a bibliography. I personally own this book, and would highly recommend it.

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