What defined the way women dressed in the 1930s? When did haute couture become off-the-peg? How did economic highs and lows influence style in the 1980s? High Fashion answers these questions and more by exploring fashion design in the 20th century, one decade at a time.
Each chapter looks at the significant stylistic changes that occurred in one decade and places them in a wider cultural and socioeconomic context. The designers whose work best represents their era are profiled and their key looks deconstructed, from the vertical silhouette of the 1900s to minimalism in the 1990s.
High Fashion combines thoughtful analysis with a carefully curated selection of archive images to create an invaluable resource for fashion students and a fascinating journey through 20th-century style for fashionistas. It reveals how styles have changed, what those changes tell us about individuals and society at that time, and how our current relationship with fashion was formed.
Emmanuelle Dirix is a lecturer, writer and curator based in London. She lectures in Critical and Historical Studies at Chelsea College of Art & Design, Central Saint Martin’s, the Royal College of Art, and the Antwerp Fashion Academy. She regularly contributes to exhibition catalogues and books on fashion, textiles and body politics, including Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion, Unravel: Knitwear in Fashion and a series of fashion sourcebooks that cover the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1970s.