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Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute - A History from the 18th to the 20th Century

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Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically. Founded in 1978, the KCI holds one of the world's most extensive clothing c Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically. Founded in 1978, the KCI holds one of the world's most extensive clothing collections and has curated many exhibitions worldwide. With an emphasis on Western women's clothing, the KCI has amassed a wide range of historical garments, underwear, shoes, and fashion accessories dating from the 18th century to the present day. Showcasing a vast selection of skilled photographs from the Institute's archives, depicting the clothing expertly displayed and arranged on custom-made mannequins, Fashion is a fascinating excursion through the last three centuries of clothing trends. From a rare treasure such as a 17th century iron corset with embroidered bodice to modern-day outfits by such designers as Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein, the collection provides an extensive overview of the evolution of women's fashion. The KCI believes that "clothing is an essential manifestation of our very being" and their passion and dedication positively radiate from every page of this book. It offers an opportunity to see how our ancestors dressed, to consider the amazing accomplishments of contemporary fashion, and to imagine how our descendants may dress in the distant future as clothing design continues on its tireless evolutionary path.


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Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically. Founded in 1978, the KCI holds one of the world's most extensive clothing c Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically. Founded in 1978, the KCI holds one of the world's most extensive clothing collections and has curated many exhibitions worldwide. With an emphasis on Western women's clothing, the KCI has amassed a wide range of historical garments, underwear, shoes, and fashion accessories dating from the 18th century to the present day. Showcasing a vast selection of skilled photographs from the Institute's archives, depicting the clothing expertly displayed and arranged on custom-made mannequins, Fashion is a fascinating excursion through the last three centuries of clothing trends. From a rare treasure such as a 17th century iron corset with embroidered bodice to modern-day outfits by such designers as Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein, the collection provides an extensive overview of the evolution of women's fashion. The KCI believes that "clothing is an essential manifestation of our very being" and their passion and dedication positively radiate from every page of this book. It offers an opportunity to see how our ancestors dressed, to consider the amazing accomplishments of contemporary fashion, and to imagine how our descendants may dress in the distant future as clothing design continues on its tireless evolutionary path.

30 review for Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute - A History from the 18th to the 20th Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    A bible which an author of historical novel must have! Gorgeous pictures, details of the costumes, dresses, underwears, fabrics, buttons, coats... If you don't clearly see how your characters are dressed, get dressed, undressed, night and day, you definitely cannot imagine how they feel in their century. A book I read and read again, while writing Mistress Mine! A bible which an author of historical novel must have! Gorgeous pictures, details of the costumes, dresses, underwears, fabrics, buttons, coats... If you don't clearly see how your characters are dressed, get dressed, undressed, night and day, you definitely cannot imagine how they feel in their century. A book I read and read again, while writing Mistress Mine!

  2. 4 out of 5

    C!NDY L00

    If you are in need, or want of a GREAT image clothing reference book from the late 18th Century (Regency) to the 19th Century (Victorian) in addition to the 20th Century (Modern), then 'Fashion' by Kyoto Costume Institute should be it. The images are beautiful, professional and the volume is dense. Over 700 pages thick! There are a few period painting reference images, but most of the book is Hi-res (gorgeous) museum quality photographs of authentic vintage clothing, styled and draped on mannequ If you are in need, or want of a GREAT image clothing reference book from the late 18th Century (Regency) to the 19th Century (Victorian) in addition to the 20th Century (Modern), then 'Fashion' by Kyoto Costume Institute should be it. The images are beautiful, professional and the volume is dense. Over 700 pages thick! There are a few period painting reference images, but most of the book is Hi-res (gorgeous) museum quality photographs of authentic vintage clothing, styled and draped on mannequins, making it easy for the viewer to imagine how the clothing must have looked as they were worn during their time. Page after page of photographs, yummy![return][return]Furthermore, it has some close up shots for those who are in need or want more fabric detail. Most of the clothing are women apparel (including their hats and jewelry for the all-over-effect). However, it has many men garments too. This includes a few lone images of authentic vintage corsets, bustles, gloves, slippers, shoes, hats, stocking, and other (male & female) accessories also... Even so, its main focus is the clothing. The book is fairly large in width and depth, and a tad bit heavy too, so viewing it from your lap nearly engulfs and pulls you into a delightful visual feast. `Fashion' is low on words but high on images. Each image has a good paragraph or two detailing each garment's history, make, year and any other special details are explained as well. Perfect for the fashion historians, fashion design students, 3D clothing creators, clothing history enthusiast, vintage clothing collectors, history art illustrators, artists and just the plain curious. It's also a marvelous visual tool for those who like to "read or write" historical novels or literature and need that added detail for the visual effects.[return][return]I own several clothing reference books, but if I had found this book first I could have saved a lot time and money. If you only need or can afford one clothing reference book, I'd highly recommend this one above all others.[return][return]*NOTE* This book covers only the Western parts of the world of historical fashion, (Europe, Americas..etc).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roxana Chirilă

    Hey, look at the smaller print before the title on the cover of this book - "The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute". Put a pin in it, because we'll come back to it in a second. This book was published by Taschen, who specialize in art books, and it shows. It's beautiful, and they paid great care to make it wonderful to hold and browse. Here's a picture! (It's from the larger edition of the book - I have a smaller one, but it's lovely, too.) It's a pleasure to see Western fashion evolve Hey, look at the smaller print before the title on the cover of this book - "The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute". Put a pin in it, because we'll come back to it in a second. This book was published by Taschen, who specialize in art books, and it shows. It's beautiful, and they paid great care to make it wonderful to hold and browse. Here's a picture! (It's from the larger edition of the book - I have a smaller one, but it's lovely, too.) It's a pleasure to see Western fashion evolve from the first half of the 18th century up until today, to see close-ups of various pieces, and admire intricate embroidery. You can see shapes and styles changing over time, going from wide skirts that make you feel doors must have been larger back in the day, to simple dresses with incredibly high waistlines, to complicated fashions where behinds were so exaggerated that we'd be hard pressed to find them attractive nowadays, before slowly coming into the 20th century and reaching fashions we might still wear today. But while it takes you on a wonderful journey through the ages, it's good to keep in mind it showcases one museum's collection, and not a comprehensive history of fashion. You get lovely explanations about developments, materials used, and inspiration, but they follow the collection at hand. Which absolutely makes sense, by the way, and I'm not complaining, but it's a thing to keep in mind, because this is a Japanese collection, albeit of mostly Western fashion, with a focus on women's clothes. As such, we get to find out more than we normally would about Japanese influences in the West, which is fascinating. But this is mostly about higher fashion, upper classes, and later designer clothes, rather than the everyday clothes of lower classes, which starts sticking out in the section dedicated to the 20th century, especially the second half of it. Clothes become more and more experimental, and eventually lose all relation to what we know was actually worn at the time. We step into a world of experimenting with shapes and fabrics, in which you can build a dress out of wood, or out of metal and wires, or even paper. Creations start being statements rather than actual clothes. This isn't bad, but it is a reminder that the scene of fashion is very different from what it used to be, and also that novelty and experimentation seem to drive what happens on catwalks, while real people move in a different direction entirely. It's also fascinating to see Japan make its own statement regarding Western and global fashion. It's a Japan-centric view of the West, and it's worth checking out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sirvinya

    Stuffed full of beautiful photography of almost 300 years of clothing. There is a very high level of detail shown and this would be extremely useful for those interested in making period clothing. Most items are shown on mannequins which show how the clothes would drape when actually worn, so much more useful that being shown flat! The book relies heavily on the photography with minimal test within the chapters. Each picture is accompanied by a short paragraph detailing the designer, country and Stuffed full of beautiful photography of almost 300 years of clothing. There is a very high level of detail shown and this would be extremely useful for those interested in making period clothing. Most items are shown on mannequins which show how the clothes would drape when actually worn, so much more useful that being shown flat! The book relies heavily on the photography with minimal test within the chapters. Each picture is accompanied by a short paragraph detailing the designer, country and year. The book is divided up into centuries (with the 20th century being split further into the first and second halves). At the start of each of the chapters an overview is given of the progression of the fashion. It's not limited to ladies fashion, though that does make up the bulk. The mens fashions shown early in the book are just as ornate as the ladies. Of course, emphasis is placed on the most recent 100 or so years. I should imagine that's simply due to a larger quantity of surviving items. It's quite interesting to see just how shapes and patterns have repeated in the last 80 years. Many of the clothes shown in the last sections wouldn't look out of place today. Definitely worth a look if you have any interest in clothing or fashion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ruth B

    who wants to join a five minute book club with this book? who's with me? who wants to join a five minute book club with this book? who's with me?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Redfox5

    Not really my cup of tea, one for the fashionistas. Vaguely interesting to read about how politics & society influenced fashion and the pictures are nice. I'm still waiting for huge dresses to come back in style. Not really my cup of tea, one for the fashionistas. Vaguely interesting to read about how politics & society influenced fashion and the pictures are nice. I'm still waiting for huge dresses to come back in style.

  7. 4 out of 5

    lily

    This was SO very fetch. !

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I've returned to this reference book a lot over the years. It is outstanding and ideal for historical research. I've returned to this reference book a lot over the years. It is outstanding and ideal for historical research.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I LOVED this book-my art teacher brought this into class for me and i spent two classes reading it. Lets just say i was in love. its full of Clothing form the 1800's-the 70's or 80's. Its Beautiful and i was in love and considered running off with the book and not giving it back to my teacher. Its Enormous and heavy-and the uk/irish price is 40 pounds/euros. Which is a bit much for a book- but it is filled with full coloured images and info. I was drolling over the pages-and i plan to buy a copy fo I LOVED this book-my art teacher brought this into class for me and i spent two classes reading it. Lets just say i was in love. its full of Clothing form the 1800's-the 70's or 80's. Its Beautiful and i was in love and considered running off with the book and not giving it back to my teacher. Its Enormous and heavy-and the uk/irish price is 40 pounds/euros. Which is a bit much for a book- but it is filled with full coloured images and info. I was drolling over the pages-and i plan to buy a copy for my self as soon as possible. Reccomended for Fans of fashion of the eras and the growth of fashion through out the years.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mina LaFleur

    This is one of my all-time favourite visual reference books. If you love historical costumes, and especially if you make reproductions, you owe it to yourself to have this on hand for drool-worthy inspiration! The pictures are glorious; well-lit, nicely fitted on the perfect forms, and the detail of embellishments and textiles is photographed splendidly. The writing is informative, though the emphasis is really on the visuals here. If you're new to background information on 18th and 19th century This is one of my all-time favourite visual reference books. If you love historical costumes, and especially if you make reproductions, you owe it to yourself to have this on hand for drool-worthy inspiration! The pictures are glorious; well-lit, nicely fitted on the perfect forms, and the detail of embellishments and textiles is photographed splendidly. The writing is informative, though the emphasis is really on the visuals here. If you're new to background information on 18th and 19th century costume, this will likely be informative. It will, however, make you want to plan a trip to Kyoto to see the collection in person!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This is a great book , there are so many wonderful close up photos of 18thc. gowns. I love all the close ups of the fabric , that is something I always need when ever I am making a historiclu accurate Gown. The only bad thing about this book is it goes from the 18thc. all the way to th 1990s. Needless to say almost ALL of the clothing in that period is very inaproprate.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pan

    This book is a must for any fashion student/fashion enthusiast. I cannot sing it's praises enough, with stunning pictures and detailed history and notes it is something anyone should have to hand. A two volume edition, in a slipcase, both bound in hardback. A beautiful addition to any library. My preference is volume I, 18-19th century, however both volumes are abundant in style and content. This book is a must for any fashion student/fashion enthusiast. I cannot sing it's praises enough, with stunning pictures and detailed history and notes it is something anyone should have to hand. A two volume edition, in a slipcase, both bound in hardback. A beautiful addition to any library. My preference is volume I, 18-19th century, however both volumes are abundant in style and content.

  13. 5 out of 5

    April Helms

    I'm happy to add this to my collection of books on costume and fashion history. This ambitious book covers a lot of ground, with its information on dress, accessories and history. The large photos make up most of this book. I really like the closeups on several garments. It will be a handy reference guide when I need to research something on dress. I'm happy to add this to my collection of books on costume and fashion history. This ambitious book covers a lot of ground, with its information on dress, accessories and history. The large photos make up most of this book. I really like the closeups on several garments. It will be a handy reference guide when I need to research something on dress.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bianca Woods

    Just a lovely curated collection of fashion from this time period. The essays at the beginning of each section do a fantastic job of giving the collection context, both with the history of fashion and the world history that affected it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Sumptuous! Thank you, Kristin!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dunmire

    I read this book because one of the hosts of “Dressed: The History of Fashion” podcast said it was one of her favorites. I can definitely see why. The book is huge, so you’re seeing large, detailed pictures of the clothing. The scope is 18th to 20th centuries. They mostly show French fashion, then a bit of British, then some American, and finishes out with Japanese. Most of it is haute couture, so clothes that were worn by nobility and rich people…which means it’s beautiful to look at. There are I read this book because one of the hosts of “Dressed: The History of Fashion” podcast said it was one of her favorites. I can definitely see why. The book is huge, so you’re seeing large, detailed pictures of the clothing. The scope is 18th to 20th centuries. They mostly show French fashion, then a bit of British, then some American, and finishes out with Japanese. Most of it is haute couture, so clothes that were worn by nobility and rich people…which means it’s beautiful to look at. There are written explanations before each century and then inset explanations on most pages. Some of it is repetitive. I learned a lot about the development of women’s garments and undergarments in shape, fabric, and aesthetic, tied in with the politics, economics, and culture of the time. Since it was written and collected by the Kyoto Costume Institute, there was an outsider perspective on western fashion and also a lot about Japonism and the influence of “exotic” countries and cultures like Japan, China, and India.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This is a fascinating walk through the progression of clothing over four centuries. The predominantly visual story allows the mind to appreciate the exquisite detail of the fabrics and the succession of styling as time opens up from the past to the present. My favourites are the floral, silk embroideries of the late 18th Century and the beautiful buttons that were tiny works of art.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Germain Pearce

    Beautiful selection and presentation of photographs and historical references.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Hall-Ingram

    A gorgeous look at fashion in the 18th-20th century. Mostly couture, not day wear or common wear. The photographs are stunning. A lovely coffee table book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    em

    beautiful photos but was annoyed by the "WOMEN WERE TRAPPED IN RESTRICTIVE CORSETS" sentiment throughout relevant - https://youtu.be/fB4FVq8MltI beautiful photos but was annoyed by the "WOMEN WERE TRAPPED IN RESTRICTIVE CORSETS" sentiment throughout relevant - https://youtu.be/fB4FVq8MltI

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Baron

    OMG the photos!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Franziska Golpon

    shocked to learn that the cardigan wasn't invented by taylor swift. shocked to learn that the cardigan wasn't invented by taylor swift.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Goldkehlchen20

    This was the first book on fashion I ever bought and it is still one of the best resources I have when I need to look something up. The costumes from the Kyoto Costume Institute are gorgeous and the pictures are of a very high quality. The individual images are chosen very well to showcase the variety of dresses available at a certain time and range from images of entire dresses to close-ups of outerwear, underwear and accessories, accompanied by contemporary artwork and drawings. The dresses in This was the first book on fashion I ever bought and it is still one of the best resources I have when I need to look something up. The costumes from the Kyoto Costume Institute are gorgeous and the pictures are of a very high quality. The individual images are chosen very well to showcase the variety of dresses available at a certain time and range from images of entire dresses to close-ups of outerwear, underwear and accessories, accompanied by contemporary artwork and drawings. The dresses in the book are organised in a chronological order with each fashion-era being introduced by a short essay to give an overview over the developments in fashion during that time. Special aspects of interesting dresses are highlighted and explained by short paragraphs which also elaborate about the economic and political motivations behind certain fashion-choices. I recommend this book to everyone interested in the history of fashion as it is a great source for research and inspiration alike.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Gilchrist

    I Enjoyed this book a lot! It traces the history of Western Fashion from 1700's-the present. The pictures are gorgious and facinating. I finally know the difference between a round-dress and a slip dress from Jane Austin's time. I actually really wondered. LOL. There is text at the begining of each section, however the information there ends up being repeated with the pictures, which was ratehr annoying. But after I figured this out, I just skipped the chapter/section comentaries and read what w I Enjoyed this book a lot! It traces the history of Western Fashion from 1700's-the present. The pictures are gorgious and facinating. I finally know the difference between a round-dress and a slip dress from Jane Austin's time. I actually really wondered. LOL. There is text at the begining of each section, however the information there ends up being repeated with the pictures, which was ratehr annoying. But after I figured this out, I just skipped the chapter/section comentaries and read what was with the pictures. I learned a lot about early 20th century fashion. It is so facinating to see that styles during this time have a way of recycling themselves, even through 3 centuries. Fun read!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    aurora

    not sure if this counts for my reading challenge really because there were a lot of pictures in here but there was also a good amount of reading so.... anyway this is a great coffee table book or research book if you're interested in historical fashion! i will say that there is an emphasis on japenese influence in fashion and while that is certainly historically accurate, so were other influences that were less spoken about (and that is eyebrow-raising when one remembers that this is from the ky not sure if this counts for my reading challenge really because there were a lot of pictures in here but there was also a good amount of reading so.... anyway this is a great coffee table book or research book if you're interested in historical fashion! i will say that there is an emphasis on japenese influence in fashion and while that is certainly historically accurate, so were other influences that were less spoken about (and that is eyebrow-raising when one remembers that this is from the kyoto costume institute). nevertheless, this book is lovely and the pictures are INCREDIBLE, high-res pictures i can use for reference.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    I liked how artfully the garments in these two volumes were photographed, but I was less impressed with their overall timeline. The first volume was relatively well presented and I feel that it represented the fashion evolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the second volume missed a lot of the nuances of 20th century style. Maybe the collection of the Kyoto Institute is still developing this area, but it seems pretty clear that American fashion is sorely underrepresented and that major E I liked how artfully the garments in these two volumes were photographed, but I was less impressed with their overall timeline. The first volume was relatively well presented and I feel that it represented the fashion evolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the second volume missed a lot of the nuances of 20th century style. Maybe the collection of the Kyoto Institute is still developing this area, but it seems pretty clear that American fashion is sorely underrepresented and that major European players were left out as well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Natalia Grein

    Great concept, terrible execution. Although this is a beautiful book, it has lots of information and details lost in huge paragraphs, all typed in the tiniest, most difficult fonts to read. Also, sometimes the authors would mention a certain kind of outfit or painting, and then there would be absolutely no pictures of it. In fact, all of the photographs are crumbled up in only a few pages, making it hard for the reader to distinguish them all. Briefly, though this is a high-quality edition with Great concept, terrible execution. Although this is a beautiful book, it has lots of information and details lost in huge paragraphs, all typed in the tiniest, most difficult fonts to read. Also, sometimes the authors would mention a certain kind of outfit or painting, and then there would be absolutely no pictures of it. In fact, all of the photographs are crumbled up in only a few pages, making it hard for the reader to distinguish them all. Briefly, though this is a high-quality edition with a very aesthetically pleasing layout, it’s super non-practical. I do not recommend it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Puni

    got this book set for myself since it was such a cheap price for such a complete book! having never gone to a fashion school, this book helps me a lot to study the world's fashion history, see how fashion evolves from time to time, and of course, get some ideas for myself to design clothes. if you really want to get to the core of fashion and understand it all, or if you just like seeing the beautiful pictures of fashion from all times, i'd definitely recommend you to get this book :) got this book set for myself since it was such a cheap price for such a complete book! having never gone to a fashion school, this book helps me a lot to study the world's fashion history, see how fashion evolves from time to time, and of course, get some ideas for myself to design clothes. if you really want to get to the core of fashion and understand it all, or if you just like seeing the beautiful pictures of fashion from all times, i'd definitely recommend you to get this book :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    gorgeous. too heavy to carry around the house, so I've left them on my ottoman and flip through them when I get a chance. I've spent more time with the first volume (18th and 19th centuries) and am incredibly impressed with the clear, detailed photographs of these stunning clothes. It makes me want to start sewing again, although I'm sure I don't currently have the time or patience (or talent) to work on a project anywhere near the magnitude that one of these gowns would be. gorgeous. too heavy to carry around the house, so I've left them on my ottoman and flip through them when I get a chance. I've spent more time with the first volume (18th and 19th centuries) and am incredibly impressed with the clear, detailed photographs of these stunning clothes. It makes me want to start sewing again, although I'm sure I don't currently have the time or patience (or talent) to work on a project anywhere near the magnitude that one of these gowns would be.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This book is an amazing and collection of photographs chronologically documenting the evolution of predominantly European and American clothing. As the title states the clothing dates back to the early 18th century with special highlights of corsets, stockings, shoes, and more than simply outerwear. Taschen always produces finely printed/cropped art collections for affordable prices. This is one of those books which you will take off of your shelf often and leaf through with fantasy.

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