The Glass of Fashion: A Personal History of Fifty Years of Changing Tastes and the People Who Have Inspired Them
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Gorgeously repackaged, this reissue of the classic book presents the iconic photographer’s expert and witty reminiscences of the personalities who inspired fashion’s golden eras, and left an indelible mark on his own sense of taste and style. "The camera will never be invented that could capture or encompass all that he actually sees," Truman Capote once said of Cecil Beaton. Though known for his portraits, Beaton was as incisive a writer as he was a photographer. First published in 1954, The Glass of Fashion is a classic—an invaluable primer on the history and highlights of fashion from a man who was a chronicler of taste, and an intimate compendium of the people who inspired his legendary eye. Across eighteen chapters, complemented by more than 150 of his own line drawings, Beaton writes with great wit about the influence of luminaries such as Chanel, Balenciaga, and Dior, as well as relatively unknown muses like his Aunt Jessie, who gave him his first glimpse of "the grown-up world of fashion." Out of print for decades but recognized and sought after as a touchstone text, The Glass of Fashion will be irresistible to a new generation of fashion enthusiasts and a seminal book in any Beaton library. It is both a treasury and a treasure.
champagne, are you? What I want is water. It is so difficult to get water. Water is so scarce in London.” Or when genuinely admiring some stranger: “Isn’t her hair lovely? Such a beautiful colour. It takes a little dye to make that effect.” When looking at pictures in a small gallery off Bond Street, she said to the salesman in a horrified voice, “Oh no, you must not show me anything Dutch. Don’t you dare show me anything Dutch. I can’t bear anything Dutch!” When towards the end of her life
flights of Léon Bakst’s fantasy. She once went to such lengths as to gild a black man who accompanied her as part of her entrance. Another appearance was made escorted by a live leopard on a chain. What might perhaps have been her most extravagant disguise never quite came off. Count Etienne de Beaumont had planned a ball, and the Marquesa Casati decided to appear as an electrically equipped Saint Sebastian. She was to wear armour pierced with hundreds of arrows, each studded with glittering
you look that counts. Thus in the twenties, fashionable women began to take on an appearance which has since become standard with the American working girl of today and which, for that matter, chic women have never quite lost. The most important reason of all for Chanel’s success was her insistence that women should look young. Previous to Chanel, clothes were designed for mature women, the social and cultural leaders of fashion. With Chanel’s advent they were all designed for youth; or, if not
fashion spreads is accurate. It is perfectly understandable the different dressmakers can pick up the same message from the jungle drums of fashion, just as Indian tribes far up the Amazon will know of the advent of a white explorer weeks before he arrives at their village. In this case the fact that the skirt will be raised four inches, is signalled by jungle wireless and appears simultaneously in the following season’s collections of different dressmakers. Little does the woman of fashion
world of needle and thread, bobbin or paper pattern, would come to copy in ever more flamboyant colours her existing dresses and elaborate evening gowns. It was a great treat to watch behind the scenes, but the greatest excitement of all was when I was allowed as a child to go down in the morning to see her being dressed for court, since at that time the court drawing rooms were held at noon. On these occasions it took her four or five hours to make herself ready. By the time we had arrived,