What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society

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What People Wore When combines the studies of two classic nineteenth-century illustrators Auguste Racinet and Friedrich Hottenroth for the first time. Their works are presented first by chronology and then by subject, so that illustrators, historians, and students alike can choose to follow the path of fashion through the centuries, or study in detail the contrasting styles of individual clothing and accessories. Silhouettes reveal the shape of style through the ages, detailed cross-references draw attention to recurring motifs, and navigation bars help the researcher to travel the complex chronology of costume.

With authoritative narrative from leading experts in the history of costume, extraordinary contemporary quotes that reveal the impact of style in its day, detailed annotation, and an extensive glossary, the book provides a magnificent study of the rich vocabulary of style through the ages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From Booklist

"What People Wore When combines the studies of two classic nineteenth-century illustrators, Auguste Racinet and Friedrich Hottenroth. According to the book's introduction, their work is presented first by era and then by subject, so that illustrators, historians, and students can choose to follow the path of fashion through the centuries or study in detail the contrasting styles of individual clothing and accessories....

In the first section of the book, 'The Grammar of Costume,' drawings portray the changing trends of fashion worldwide from ancient times to the mid-nineteenth century. The second part, 'The Elements of Costume,' surveys types of clothing and accessories, for example, 'Women's Dress, 1300-1600' and 'Regional Headwear.' In both sections, cross-references and navigation bars draw attention to recurring motifs. A glossary defines most, but not all, of the terms that are italicized in the text, which was written by leading experts in the field of costume history. Detailed annotations of the drawings and illustrations, along with the glossary and index, provide an interesting study of the vocabulary of style through the ages."

School Library Journal

Adult/High School

This attractive book will appeal to teens looking for quick answers for a last-minute assignment, and it will also be of interest to budding fashionistas and social historians. Leventon has combined current research on costume and dress through the ages with the detailed beauty of the work of two 19th-century illustrators, Auguste Racinet and Friedrich Hottenroth, to provide a historical and thematic examination of fashion and dress that is both comprehensive and readable. The volume works first and foremost as a reference book, and it is full of informative sidebars and copious cross-references. But it is worth browsing through because it is also full of gorgeous color pictures as well as silhouettes that show the changing shape of clothing and style through time. There is a lot of attention to detail, both visually and textually. The result is an exhaustive, entertaining tome that will be put to good use in reference departments and circulating collections alike.-Caitlin Fralick, Ottawa Public Library, ON

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312383213
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/8/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 377,968
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

MELISSA LEVENTON is a freelance consultant curator, and was Chief Curator of Textiles at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco until 2002. She teaches Fashion History at the California College of Art.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 6

The Grammar of Costume 10

The Ancient World 12

The Roman Empire 30

Europe in the Middle Ages 46

Renaissance Europe 96

Modern Europe, 1650-1840 150

East and Southeast Asia 184

South Asia 198

Anatolia, Persia, and Central Asia 212

European Regional Dress 224

Africa, Oceania, and the Americas 256

The Elements of Costume 276

Clothing Through the Ages 278

Accessories Through the Ages 302

Glossary 338

Bibliography 346

Index 348

Picture Credits and Notes on Contributors 352

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