Fashion

La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess de Castiglione by Pierre Praxine

Symbol of the Second Empire, that dazzling and artificial epoch, the mysterious Countess de Castiglione dedicated her life to a cult of personal beauty and made sensational appearances at various stages of her life, great moments that she recreated for the camera. These photographs contributed to her legend during her lifetime and were prized by collectors after her death. This book presents an extraordinary collection of the most remarkable of these photographs.

The portraits, which number around 400 and are now scattered in public and private collections around the world, are here itemized and analyzed for the first time. The authors take great care to place them in their social and cultural context.

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The First Book of Fashion by Ulinka Rublack

This captivating book reproduces arguably the most extraordinary primary source documents in fashion history. Providing a revealing window onto the Renaissance, they chronicle how style-conscious accountant Matthäus Schwarz and his son Veit Konrad experienced life through clothes, and climbed the social ladder through fastidious management of self-image. These bourgeois dandies' agenda resonates as powerfully today as it did in the sixteenth century: one has to dress to impress, and dress to impress they did.

The Schwarzes recorded their sartorial triumphs as well as failures in life in a series of portraits by illuminists over 60 years, which have been comprehensively reproduced in full color for the first time. These exquisite illustrations are accompanied by the Schwarzes' fashion-focussed yet at times deeply personal captions, which render the pair the world's first fashion bloggers and pioneers of everyday portraiture.

The First Book of Fashion demonstrates how dress – seemingly both ephemeral and trivial – is a potent tool in the right hands. Beyond this, it colorfully recaptures the experience of Renaissance life and reveals the importance of clothing to the aesthetics and every day culture of the period. 

Historians Ulinka Rublack's and Maria Hayward's insightful commentaries create an unparalleled portrait of sixteenth-century dress that is both strikingly modern and thorough in its description of a true Renaissance fashionista's wardrobe. This first English translation also includes a bespoke pattern by TONY award-winning costume designer and dress historian Jenny Tiramani, from which readers can recreate one of Schwarz's most elaborate and politically significant outfits.

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