Fashion Drawing in Vogue by William Packer

11 Jan

Unveiling the intricate art work behind the gowns and garments that have tantalised readers of Vogue magazine worldwide for years, Fashion Drawing in Vogue gives fashion enthusiasts a rare glimpse into the artistic craftsmanship behind some of the most elegant designs of the century. Focusing predominantly on Vogue from 1909, the year in which it was taken over by Condé Nast, William Packer explores the sketches behind the clothing and how other art movements managed to influence fashion respectively. Packer presents highlights of sketches from seven decades (1920s-80s) of Vogue.

My favourite chapter was one entitled ‘1935 – 1946: Romantic Expressionism and applied Surrealism, Vogue’s eye on society in peace and war’. It begins by giving context to what was happening in the world at this time, speaking of the Great Depression in America and mass unemployment in England for instance. It is stated that “there is a war on, but London life somehow continues, perhaps even more sociable and high-spirited than ever”. Endless sketches of beautiful women give a visual to the usual standards of classic beauty; high cheek bones, small pouted lips and fluttering eye lashes are in abundance. Links between the war and fashion are also established; for example, were you aware that Michael de Brunhoff, editor of French Vogue during the second world war, closed down the publication in the summer of 1940 and did not resume it until the Liberation? I often feel that the fashion industry is overlooked as something superficial and intimidating. Books like this prove fabulously that fashion is merely an extension of society and situations and in appreciating it you can perhaps gain a further understanding of the world around you. (Failing that, you can feel fabulous and brighten it up a little bit!)

The presentation of this book is as sophisticated and chic as Vogue itself. Broken into sections of pink, white and glossy pages, it is easy to decipher different sections and quickly skim to the silky photographs that accompany them. Although we are often told not to judge a book by its cover, it seems unfair not to note that the appearance of this one is delicate and pretty, much like the sketches inside it.

Perfect for art history students, this collection of coveted names (the likes of Edouard Benito, Paul Iribe and Douglas Pollard among them) and ravishing designers amounts to a collection that is as exquisite as it is informative. A classy and indulgent book perfect for all fashion and art lovers.

A la Mode Appraisal: 9/10

Fashion Drawing in Vogue is published by Thames & Hudson and will enlighten you about the process from pencil to Prada for £19.95.

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3 Responses to “Fashion Drawing in Vogue by William Packer”

  1. M. January 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    What a lovely book! I will definitely be adding this to my library. Thanks for posting.

    Best,
    Mariah

    • rosaleengallagher January 16, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      Ooh it really is lovely Mariah! Do let me know what you think of it when you’ve finished reading.
      With best wishes,
      Rosleen x

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