The title of this book is in no way misleading. It is, in fact, a very short introduction to the history of fashion. Arnold takes the reader on a helicopter ride through fashion’s past, present, and future, hovering far above specific instances to locate very broad patterns. Some of these include the rise of the designer, the intersections between art and fashion, the development of the fashion industry, the impact of globalization, etc.
For the most part, this book did exactly what it was designed to do. It painted the history of fashion in very broad strokes so that we were able to identify areas in which we would like to dig deeper. For each chapter, Arnold lists possible sources for further reading. Some that seem particularly interesting to our project are:
- The journal Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture.
- Paul Jobling, Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography since 1980
- Annie Phizacklea, Unpacking the Fashion Industry: Gender, Racism, and Class in Production.
- Rebecca Arnold, Fashion, Desire, and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the Twentieth Century.
- Hazel Clark and Eugenia Paulicelli, eds. The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, and Globalization.
Though the book could only ever deal with any issue on a superficial level, I was able to tease out a few items of interest to the intersection of fashion and emerging media.