Sunday, January 5, 2014

Good Reading-- Style Book II: Pattern and Print



Now that the holidays are over and we can get back to what we were doing about a month ago, I find myself spending my morning coffee with a great little book that was given to me at Christmas, "Style Book II: Pattern and Print". This recent fashion publication is different from many of the other chunky photo collections in that it is centered on design inspirations and influences for fashion and textiles.

In some ways, this is like sitting down with a talented design student's clipping files, and going over each category or style. The book is grouped into nine subject areas where patterns are related. Visual groups on international textiles, florals, graphics, plaids, dots and more are packed between the covers. The images are both recent and date back in time, providing a well rounded view of fashion inspirations during the 20th century and before.

At times it is possible to see a photo of an 'original' design influence on one page, and a more current fashion influenced by that on the other page. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. But overall, it's a fun way to re-think how we see and value fashion. It is also a reminder that when we dress, we are usually inspired by an earlier version or an original version of that fashion.

This book has little to say about each photo, and I am OK with this since it really is a picture book, not a research document. The author, Elizabeth Walker, projects a very British point of view in her choice of images and comments. Her written notes are fine most of the time, but her POV does carry some examples of subjective commenting when objectivity would be more scholarly. Most of the photos in the text are from Getty Images, which probably made the process of assembling works with permission to publish alot easier to accomplish.

I would recommend this book to any design student or those who are interesting in textile design. It will also appeal to readers with a visual bent who want to learn more about the source of fashion design and how inspirations are utilized as fashion evolves.

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