20th-Century Fashion in Detail (Victoria and Albert Museum) – Claire Wilcox, Valerie D. Mendes


Revealing the elaborate embroidery, intricate pleats and daring cuts that make up some of the 20th century’s most beautiful garments, this book explores the specific techniques used by couturiers as tastes and textile technologies evolved. Work by designers such as Mariano Fortuny, Madeleine Vionnet, Paul Poiret, Hubert de Givenchy, Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood is rediscovered, and exquisite haute-couture pieces, from sequinned Chanel trouser suits and richly embroidered Schiaparelli jackets to striking Balenciaga creations and Dior evening gowns, are examined.

Part of the ‘Fashion in Detail’ series, this updated edition features a revised introduction and list of designers followed by chapters dedicated to a particular technique. Each garment is illustrated through detailed photography and line drawings and is accompanied by a commentary by leading experts in textiles and fashion.

An extraordinary exploration of the techniques used by couturiers in the construction of these exceptional garments, 20th-Century Fashion in Detail will delight all followers of fashion.



What we love about this exquisite book is the level of detail about the different techniques. In contrast to the ‘throwaway’ philosophy of recent times this beautiful book illustrates how a designer’s vision has been realised by a skilled workforce of seamstresses, tailors, embroiderers and finishers to the highest possible standard. 

In this intriguing book there is also an opportunity to see how a garment is constructed,using detailed drawings and photographs including everything from the choice of fabric, cutting, creating a calico toile, and the minute detail in the finishing including beads, bows and buttons.

The content includes the following:

List of Designers
Tucks and Pleats
Collars, Cuffs and Pockets
Beads and Sequins
Applied Decoration

The photography is outstanding illustrating in close-up the detail in the garments, followed by a commentary by leading experts in fashion and textiles.

As the title implies, it is the detail that makes this beautiful book sing, if you love sewing, are a lover of fashion, or a student looking for inspiration this book will be a wonderful addition to any collection. Highly Recommended!

20th-Century Fashion in Detail (Victoria and Albert Museum) Claire Wilcox, Valerie D. Mendes is published by Thames & Hudson