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Birthday yarns and an impromptu book review

December 10, 2008

Apologies for not posting lately- things have been kind of busy, what with that Christmas thing looming into view and all…

…and a birthday! :) Thank you so much for all the cards and presents. I thought I’d just share a few here:

Not one but TWO! skeins of opulence by the Woolen Rabbit. The colourway is Black Velvet and they’re a sport weight 50/50 merino silk mix. Gorgeous.

Also, and less photogenically, 10 balls of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran, in colourway Clipper:

(These are destined to become this, methinks…)

And this, the first real academic “theory of fashion” book I’ve read:

It originally came out in 1985 and this is a new revised and updated edition. Elizabeth Wilson traces the social and cultural history of fashion and its complex relationship to modernity. I’m only a couple of chapters in, and so far it’s very interesting, but to me occasionally annoying.

Wilson whips through a complete history of fashion at breakneck speed in Chapter 1 and, as she admits herself, has to leave out a lot of stuff that might be important, which seems to kind of undermine the point of writing such a chapter. Chapter 2 deals with the concept of fashion and theories from figures as diverse as Charles Darwin and Thorstein Veblen. The facts are fascinating but Wilson’s opinion boldly asserted as truth starts to grate a little and the book occasionally smacks rather of reading someone’s PhD thesis. (Personally I find it hard to swallow that the concept of fashion did not exist before the 14th century.) But possibly the reason for this is that there’s a good few books worth of material here, but each one has been condensed down to a chapter.

Also, I find the style somewhat disjointed- paragraphs and arguments seem not to really flow, at least not to a reader, although perhaps in the writer’s brain the links between them made sense. (I also have the sneaking suspicion that Wilson contradicts herself a bit.) There are a lot of lovely black and white illustrations of various kinds, old dress designs, magazine pages, etc, which are very easy on the eye but seem not to be there to reinforce any particular points.

Having said all that though, it’s an extremely thought-provoking read and a good introduction to fashion theory.

(Have you noticed how it’s impossible to even mention a book or a film without launching into an impromptu review of it?!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2008 4:29 pm

    Happy Birthday! What yummy yarn, the Snow White pattern is very pretty, good choice!

  2. Eva permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:51 pm

    Happy Birthday! Love the woolen rabbit yarn – dreamy color!

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