Lucky Isabel Toledo.
The designer launched her career in fashion at the Met Museum's Costume Institute working for none other than Diana Vreeland. Vreeland, writes Toledo in her autobiography, was "a walking textbook of fashion history." While it's no longer possible to hobnob with Dame Diana (unless you're blessed with the mad skillz needed to deal with dearly-departed Fashion Divas), you can certainly emulate Vreeland's smartypants example by following in her well-shod footsteps & becoming an authority yourself on the history of fashion.
The crinoline-caged Victorian female, the Gibson girl, those 1980s power suits followed by the grunge-layered youth of the 1990s - all reflect the influences and extremes of their life and times - which makes for stylish eyecandy in the new "FASHION: A Visual History: From Regency & Romance to Retro & Revolution" (St. Martin's Press; 2012). Using beautiful paintings, photos, vintage cartoons, music, film, dance, sports & fashion plates - this excellent magazine-sized book clearly explains when & how distinctive distinctive styles came to permeate society and define a period.
This chronological catwalk from the 1800s to the 21st century includes stops along at the Little Black Dress, the bowler hat, the caftan & the stiletto heel, as well as the work of Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Worth, Yves Saint Laurent & Alexander McQueen - all innovators who helped morph the 19th century dawn of the designer into the star-studded industry of today.
- Lesley Scott
(Diana Vreeland image: source)
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