“Fashion – 150 Years” is an encyclopedic work, not only in content but in size and weight. Fashion is taken from about the mid 1800s to the present. Seeling locates the beginnings of modern fashion about 1860 when the English clothing designer Charles Frederick Worth working in Paris put labels with his signature on the gowns he designed. Seeling sees this as turning clothing–however ornamental, stylized, or individualized–into art–Worth was the first “fashion designer.”
Since Worth’s innovative touch, there have been scores of outstanding fashion designers–all of whom make their appearance. The history of fashion from the mid 1860s is related in terms of profiles of the leading, most imaginative and skilled, most influential, and often most acclaimed fashion designers accompanied by abundant photographic material. One could follow the history just by following the copious, most color photographs. One sees how fashion spread out from its beginnings in Paris to the global, popular enterprise it is today. But one wants to read the profiles too for their colorful biographical material and ideas and approaches to fashion, and for putting the respective designer into the context of fashion history.
Seeling has been a top editor at Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire after her time as a journalist interviewing many world-class celebrities. This incomparable work of hers can be used as a text on fashion history and also a reference. And its readable text plus the countless photographs give it the style of a popular book for informative and entertaining reading on fashion. And it’s an ideal coffee-table book.