Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Book Review: Shopping for Vintage by Funmi Odulate

I got this as a gift from my husband a couple of years ago, and it's a lovely looking book; however it has its frustrations and limitations as a reference book. It's main problem is it feels like it's aimed audience is well out of the average girls price range!

I say this because this book feels like it will be of most use to those jet setting around the world collecting signed designer vintage pieces. As you would expect from the title, it's very much a book about buying vintage, with sections on 'The Art of buying and collecting', 'Vintage Going Forward' (about which current designers to collect that will be valuable in the future) and an extensive directory of vintage fashion stores across the world. The emphasis is very much on prominent designers, with the first section 'Designers and their Decades' swiftly taking you through the key designers of each decade. Whilst this is interesting to flick through, each designer is given a very short profile and not in-depth, so it feels more like a portable reference book for those able to buy designer rather than something for those interested in fashion history to really learn much from.

1950s introduction page

In fairness, the 'Shopping for Vintage' section does cover charity and thrift shops, car boot and garage sales, flea markets and the internet, and the directory has a range of outlets of different price ranges. It's also generally nicely and concisely written.

Vintage shop directory

The biggest frustration is the stylised illustrations. They are very prettily done, but this is all that the book contains - no photographs at all. I honestly believe that the only way you can really learn about fashion history is by studying photos, looking at and touching the originals, and wearing it. Stylised illustrations really let down the written descriptions they accompany.

Stylised illustrations, not photos

All in all, it's a pleasant enough little book to flick through, but it's not one I would recommend putting high on your 'to buy' list, as there's many other much better and more interesting books on vintage out there.

1 comment:

  1. Sally, I agree with your comments about this pretty book. It's quite lovely to look at but isn't as strong as I'd like it and your point about photos is a good one too: always better than nice illustrations, especially when they're stylised.