Tag Archives: costume

In Vogue – Sixty years of celebrities and fashion from British Vogue 1975

In Vogue

By Georgina Howell – First Published in 1975 by Allen Lane, this edition published 1978 by Penguin Books.

I found this rather battered copy at the weekend for £5. Close to 350 pages, large-format paperback it covers the period from 1916 to 1975. It’s mostly in black and white with a couple of four-page colour sections.

It is set out in chronological order (except for the colour pages) and each year has at least two pages. There are also long intros to each decade.

In Vogue

1917

In Vogue

1927

In Vogue

1942

In Vogue

1953

In Vogue

1966

In Vogue

1971

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The White Cat

image from The White Cat

The White Cat cover

Another book illustrated by the wonderful Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. This is a French fairy story by Madame la Comtesse d’Aulnoy written in 1682. Published by Dean 1972. This isn’t a story that appears in fairytale collections very often, let alone in a book to itself. It’s a classic enchanted-creature, dividing the kingdom tale, but in this story the enchanted creature is the princess and the prince is on the journey.

Three princes are sent on a quest to find the prettiest, tiniest dog for their father. The youngest prince gets lost in the forest and finds his way to a mysterious castle where the servants are strange disembodied hands. It turns out that the castle is the home of the Queen of Cats.

image from The White Cat

The prince meets the Queen of Cats

The Queen of Cats takes quite a fancy to the prince and he stays with her until it is time to return to his father. The Queen gives him a dog that fits inside a cob nut. Of course the King was a bit put out by this and sent his sons on another quest and so on and so on.

While the youngest prince is living with the Queen of Cats she treats him to entertainments, parties and feasts. She even has her own theatre – isn’t this great!

image from The White Cat

Cat theatre!

I won’t tell you the end of the story – but suffice to to say they lived happily ever after…

image from The White Cat

Watching the fireworks

The illustration is sumptuous and the costumes are authentic late-1600s. Costume was one of the Johnstone sisters’ great strengths and interests – especially Anne (I believe Janet focussed on animals).

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The Woman in Fashion – Costume book

The Woman in Fashion by Doris Langley Moore cover

The Woman in Fashion by Doris Langley Moore cover

The Woman in Fashion by Doris Langley Moore

Published by Batsford in 1949 and illustrated with costumes from the author’s collection photographed by Felix Fonteyn.

This book was produced in the days when museum quality historic costume would still be modelled on real people. Doris Langley Moore moved in illustrious circles and the models in this book include Margot Fonteyn, Moria Shearer and Beryl Grey, ballerinas, and  Vivien Leigh, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave (as children), Googie Withers, actresses. There is a companion book, produced a few years later, The Child in Fashion, also featuring the Redgrave family.

Vivien Leigh in an evening dress c1883

Vivien Leigh in an evening dress c1883

Margot Fonteyn in a wedding dress c1877

Margot Fonteyn in a wedding dress c1877

Beryl Grey in a wedding dress 1837

Beryl Grey in a wedding dress 1837

The Doris Langley Moore collection formed the basis of the costume museum at the Assembly Rooms at Bath. There is a short series of films at the BBC archive

In 2004 my husband met Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave in Canada, and he took my copy of the book with him to show them. Rather marvellously, they both signed it for me, as did the wonderful Donald Sinden who wrote: I sign this – perforce – merely because I knew so many of these ladies (I can imagine him saying that!)

Vanessa Redgrave in a pink taffeta dress 1825. The only image in colour.

Vanessa Redgrave in a pink taffeta dress 1825. The only image in colour.

Lynn Redgrave in a dress c1863

Lynn Redgrave in a dress c1863

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Books and their illustrators from my childhood

Last week I saw this article in The Guardian, Writers’ favourite classic book illustrations – in pictures  and it reminded me of my childhood reading experience. We didn’t have a television during the period between me being five and twelve (ish) so I read – a lot.

I was read, and later read, the Narnia stories over and over again. I poured over Pauline Baynes’ delicate illustrations for hours. One year my nana gave me The Observers’ Book of European Costume illustrated by Pauline Baynes. (If anyone finds a copy with To Jill Love from Nana and Grandad inscribed in it it’s mine!). I’ve had a lifelong love of historical costume, and I think this was an early addition to my collection of costume books. I really like use of the two colours and the way the illustrations form a frieze. Published in 1975, the book starts at 1st century Roman and finishes at 1900 with a detailed 37-page glossary.

From Observer's Book of European Costume illustrated by Pauline Baynes

From Observer’s Book of European Costume illustrated by Pauline Baynes

I was going to talk about some other books and other illustrators, but I think I’ll leave it for later – so more later!

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