Category Archives: Fashion

Remember the Olympics?

The 2012 London Olympics wrapped up last week.  While most casual sports fans have already recovered from their small case of Olympic fever, hardcore sports fanatics may still be nursing their Olympics hangover.  Don’t despair — as usual, the library has you covered.  These Olympics-related books and DVDs should help you feel better in no time.

Otl Aicher was an influential German designer, as this collection of his work shows.  The book includes a fascinating chapter on Aicher’s groundbreaking design work for the ill-fated 1972 Munich Olympics.  From posters to signage to color schemes, Aicher’s designs  complement each other and create an overall visual identity.  The pictograms he created to represent events would later become the basis of commonly-used symbols, such as male/female restrooms, “no swimming”, etc.

A single photograph can truly do wonders to capture the pure emotions of the Olympic Games.  Andy Steel’s collection of sports and action photography is excellent.  It includes a short bio and interview with each photographer as well as full-page color images.  While all of the shots in this book are stunning, check out the work of Ezra Shaw and Tom Jenkins to see great Olympic images from recent years.

Admittedly, some of us were watching the London Olympics in hopes of catching a glimpse of Britain’s biggest fashion celebrities in the stands.  For those fans, Anglomania is a great book.  It’s a collection of photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that takes a creative approach to showing how British fashion has changed over the past few centuries.  Modern fashion pieces are displayed in time period-themed rooms, marking the similarities and differences in culture and fashion.  It’s a must for any fan of British fashion.

At its core, the Olympics are a display of the marvelous feats the human body is capable of performing.  The National Geographic special Incredible Human Machine explores the science of how an athlete’s body is able to accomplish what they do, as well as the amazing things our bodies do for us regular folks on a daily basis.  As it turns out, the act of breathing is just as fascinating as running a triathalon, and way less tiring.

Major Literature

Summertime and reading a good book seem to go hand in hand.  If the only book you’ve picked up in the last few months is a textbook, it’s time to come to the library and pick up your own summer reading book.  The following great reads are as unique as the programs offered on our campus.

Chuck Palahniuk’s book Invisible Monsters will wake you up from the boredom of constant textbook reading.  This book, from the author of Fight Club, follows a fashion model who is horribly disfigured in a freak auto accident.  Her downward spiral and self-discovery as she travels across the country with a drag queen and his companion will keep your eyes glued to the page.  Along with all the unpredictable twists and turns, you’ll find a story that deals with the harsh realities of gender and beauty.

Swinging from one end of the heroine spectrum to the other, Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is the epitome of the Victorian novel.  While the soap opera-esque plot revolving around the downtrodden, self-proclaimed “plain” Jane and the brooding, mysterious Mr. Rochester is reason enough to read this book, we confess that the cover art is our favorite part.  It was designed by designer Coralie Bickford-Smith as part of Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series.  This is one situation where it’s perfectly okay to judge a book by its cover.

The idea of expressing love through food takes on special meaning in Laura Esquivel’s book Like Water for Chocolate.  The book tells the story of the De La Garza family and the enduring yet forbidden love between Tita and Pedro.  However, food is the driving force of this novel: the characters infuse their meals with love, sadness, or whatever emotion they are feeling while cooking, producing intense results for those who eat it.  It’s a magical tale of the power of food in everyday life.

If you were ever a moody teenage girl, and haven’t read Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, you have some required reading to do.  Esther, a summer intern at a top fashion magazine in New York City, becomes deeply depressed and disillusioned with life, eventually attempting suicide.  After several tries, Esther finally meets a doctor who helps her fight the crippling depression that nearly cost her her life.  Plath’s coming-of-age novel puts a spotlight not only on clinical depression, but also on the problematic way creative women are treated in our society.

World Showcase: Japan

Japan’s vibrant, fascinating culture has had a definite effect on American design and culture.  Just take a look at a few of these items in the library to get a taste of Japanese style.

Fruits is a popular magazine with fashion students on campus, but did you know it is also a book?  The library has two collections of the best photos ever to grace the pages of this quirky Japanese street fashion magazine.  The wild combination of vintage trends with kids couture somehow ends up looking pretty cool.  While the look may seem pretty extreme, it has subtly influenced contemporary American style, most notably Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls collection.

Famous chef Takashi Yagihashi has made Japanese noodles a hot commodity.  You may remember seeing Takashi on the late-night talk show circuit a while ago promoting his book,
Takashi’s Noodles, based on his successful NYC restaurant.  If you’re a lover of ramen noodles, or really noodles in general, you’ll fall in love with the simple, tasty recipes in this book.  It’s comfort food at its Japanese finest.

More and more, the trend in interior design has shifted towards a minimal, clean look.  It’s a style that has been perfected by the Japanese for centuries.  Japan Style is great for the interior designer looking for inspiration on simple yet functional style.  The captions and descriptions of the model houses included give the reader history on aspects of Japanese style as well as ideas as to how to make items more functional in a small space.

Neo Japanesque Graphics is a treat for graphic design students.  The designs included in the book put a modern spin on traditional Japanese design motifs. Additionally, it gives design examples using a variety of different commercial mediums, including packaging, letterhead, calendars, etc.  It’s a good example of the clash between old and new Japanese style.

Mid-Century Fashion Designers

Mid-century style is hot right now in nearly every field of design. The fashion industry saw the rise of some of its most iconic designers during the 1950s. Together, these mid-century fashion designers and styles shaped women’s fashion for the next half-century.

For evening gown lovers, you can’t go wrong with Balenciaga. Balenciaga and His Legacy is a catalog from the exhibit at the Texas Fashion Collection. The book includes full-color pictures of his pieces, alongside the original sketches.  In addition, the author was able to interview the original owners of many of the gowns, who knew Cristobal Balenciaga personally. The anecdotes from these women give priceless insight into one of the great minds of the fashion world.

If you’re looking for even more mid-century elegance and style, look no further than Dior.  Alexandra Palmer’s book Dior: A New Look, a New Enterprise gives the reader a behind-the-scenes look at the first ten years of this stellar fashion house. Along with incredible pictures of Dior’s most famous designs, Palmer details how Dior created, promoted, and protected his iconic look. Students interested in learning how to combine business savvy with beautiful design should read this book.

Obviously, not everyone wore haute couture, even in the glamorous 1950s. Horrockses Fashions: Off-the-Peg Style in the ’40s and ’50s showcases the bright, cotton-print, ready-to-wear dresses produced by British cotton textiles company Horrockses, Crewdson & Co. The book details the history of the company and rise in popularity of the signature Horrockses dress style that most people associate with this era.  Be careful — once you start turning pages, you’ll be forced to check it out.

There’s a reason why Coco Chanel is the queen of modern fashion.  Take a look at Chanel, a catalog from the exhibition of Chanel’s designs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and you’ll understand. Along with her iconic suits and purses, it includes a selection of her evening wear designs. In-depth essays by leading fashion experts give the book a scholarly feel. Chanel is a combination of beautiful pictures as well as critical information about the designer and her brand.

Reference Check

One section of the library that often gets overlooked is the reference section. It really is the best-kept secret of the library. The reference books are so good, we keep them here so they’re always available. We simply couldn’t live without these books, and I bet once you starting looking around back there, you’ll feel the same way.
If you’re a fashion student, one of the coolest books you’ll ever use is The Denim Bible. It’s an encyclopedia of all things fashion denim, including brand names, trade techniques, and style trends. In addition, it includes entries for industry terms related to the manufacture of denim textiles and garments. If you’re working on a project related to sportswear and jeans, make this resource your first stop when beginning your research.

Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market is a valuable tool for artists looking for freelance jobs. The directory includes listings for galleries, magazine/book publishers, advertising agencies, even poster and greeting card companies! Entries provide contact information, a brief description of what the company is looking for, and how to submit your work for consideration. For the young creative professional, this book is a vital source of information when starting your career.

Interior design research often means wading through the myriad of design styles and variations. It can be frustrating trying to find a book that has both good background information and great pictures. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, take a look at The Abrams Guide to Period Styles for Interiors.  Not only does this guide do a good job at organizing styles and periods into easy-to-read units, it also provides beautiful full-color pictures for every style.

Encyclopaedia of Typefaces is just what the title implies — an encyclopedia of type.  This classic typography reference contains examples, descriptions, and the history behind hundreds of classic fonts. It also includes an index of important type designers. While this guide is a great guide for standard fonts, it does not include modern fonts that are products of the technology era. So while you’ll find Times New Roman in this book, you certainly won’t find Comic Sans in this book (thank goodness).

A common assignment for culinary students is to write a report about a fruit or vegetable.  Since there aren’t many books out there about the mighty kiwi, you may want to take a look at Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. This encyclopedia of produce has almost every fruit, vegetable and herb imaginable, including exotic items not usually found in the grocery store. Entries include the cultural history of the item as well as nutrition and common uses. Make your chef proud and use this book for your next report.


Thinking about menswear

With the Academy Awards just days ago, many news web sites are abuzz over the fashion choices of the attendees. The Academy Awards offer fashion stylists a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talent. It also seems to be the one major event that promotes discussion of men’s fashion as much as it does women’s fashion. The New York Times recently published “How to Wear a Tux” on its Fashion & Style page. In this article, author Guy Trebay discusses traditional expectations of tuxedo styling and fit, as well as how to tastefully “break the rules”.

What are your thoughts on men’s tuxedo styling? Do you think it is okay when men add their own touches, such as wearing tennis shoes or a black shirt? If you are interested in reading more about menswear and the styling of men’s fashion, the library has many books on the subject:

Modern menswear / Hywel Davies

Dressing the man : mastering the art of permanent fashion / Alan Flusser

100 years of menswear / Cally Blackman

A Well-Dressed Gentleman’s Pocket Guide / Oscar Lenius





WGSN site has a new look!

WGSN recently launched WGSN Fontis. According to their description, “You can now search 650,000 pages and over 4 million images, and find exactly what you need immediately with the beautiful, new WGSN Fontis. server dns information Here are just ten reasons you’ll fall in love with the revolutionary new WGSN Fontis:

• Intuitive tri-level navigation
• Pioneering visual-search technology
• Microscopic zoom functionality
• One-click high resolution printing
• An all new catwalk universe
• User-friendly My WGSN personal workspaces
• Dynamic City by City maps
• Pre-season planning with the WGSN calendar
• Digital Moodboards
• Ten year + exclusive archive”

Instructional videos are available here. Please visit the library for WGSN access instructions.