Delving again into my stack of menswear books, today we have “100 years of menswear” by Cally Blackman. Cally is no novice when it comes to fashion, or writing about it, with at least 4 previous titles and a position as lecturer at institutions such as Central Saint Martins College. This professionalism is obvious when you take a look through this book.
As the title indicates, this book covers the evolution in menswear the last 100 years. This evolution is documented through a range of categories and time spans, depending on which was the prevalent styles of the period. So for 1900-39 we have “Suits”, “Worker & soldier”, “Artist & performer”, “Good guy, bad guy”, “Player” and “Dressing down, dressing up”. The second timespan is 1940 and onwards and takes us through “Rebel”, “Peacock”, “Media start”, “Culture clubber”, “Stylist” and “Designer”.
While the titles of the chapters give a hint as to the content, it’s not until you sit down and start going through the pages that you realise the depth of research and the quality of the material here. While the photos themselves are outstanding and well selected, there is also actual text of value here, not just haphazard captions.
And the text is where the author shows she has academic chops to a greater degree than most of the menswear writers around. Putting it all into a greater perspective, actually coming up with strong information, means this is very much more than a picture book, and a book you might end up learning from. A boon for menswear nerds indeed, and the bane of their partners.
Clocking in at a generous 320 pages at 12.95 pounds, this is a recommended title. Good for many an evenings reading. Available from the usual suspects, or direct from the publisher Laurence King Publishing.