In very exciting news, my fifth book, The Fashion Chronicles: Style Stories of History’s Best Dressed is out this Thursday, 6th September! The book crosses continents and over 5000 years to show the importance of communication through clothing, featuring 100 people from Sappho to Tutankhamun, Karl Marx and Michelle Obama. The book covers key people in fashion history (and some you may recognise from A Stitch In Time) but also more unexpected figures who used dress to signify power and status, to adorn and beautify, or to prop up (or dismantle) regimes and display political allegiances.
I consider it my manifesto for fashion history, illuminating how the study of clothing can act as a portal to the past! Crucially, it’s available to pre-order here and you can see a sneak preview on Instagram here.
To celebrate the book launch, I am taking fashion history on tour! Come and see me speak at any and all of these venues across the country over the next few months….
- 15th September: super excited to be in conversation with the excellent Dr Janina Ramirez at Gloucester History Festival chatting all things Stitch in Time and The Fashion Chronicles, followed by a book signing. More info and tickets here
- 22nd September: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen was one of the great social commentators of her age. I’m speaking about fashion and Jane Austen at Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire – this is sold out but you can join the waiting list here!
- 30th September: Style by the sea! Come and get the lowdown on The Fashion Chronicles at Margate’s literary festival, Margate Bookie against the glorious seascape backdrop of the Turner Contemporary. Scroll down here for info and tickets
- 12th October: I’m talking Charles II style and the history of menswear at Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket, Suffolk. Tickets here!
- 24th October: Come and hear me chat about The Fashion Chronicles at Sheffield’s festival of words Off the Shelf. Get your tickets here!
- 10th November: I’m speaking on the panel ‘Wear It Like Nobody’s Watching: A liberation in style’ at Stylist Live, followed by a book signing. Tickets available here!
- 29th November: I’ll be discussing Huguenot silk weavers and historical fashion as contemporary inspiration at the Huguenot Museum in Rochester. Tickets here!
- 8th December: In the morning (time TBC) I will be chatting about The Fashion Chronicles and how clothes can act as a portal to the past at the very exciting new Hist Fest in London (check out their Twitter and Instagram feeds for the amazing line up and for updates)
I hope to see you somewhere around the country soon, and don’t forget to pre-order The Fashion Chronicles!
IN OTHER NEWS…
Stripes, style and the sea! It was a joy to contribute to Out of Line, a documentary on BBC Radio 4 about horizontal stripes. Listen again here.
I have been writing about fashion, politics and culture for Frieze magazine, beginning with a dissection of First Lady dressing in Politics, Slogan Clothing and Pop Culture: A Brief History of Melania Trump’s Jacket.
I spent some time over the summer lecturing in China (catch some of the highlights from the trip here, here, here and here). I wrote about my visit to Hangzhou for Frieze, looking at the importance of silk in Chinese cultural history and contemporary fashion in Made in China: The Silk Road to Soft Power.
I also wrote about how the artist Frida Kahlo constructed herself through her wardrobe for issue 182 of Icon magazine of design and architecture. Grab a copy for more on the current V&A exhibition, and how she used her clothes and belongings to construct her cultural & political identity.
Finally, a reminder that my Radio 4 documentary, From Rags to Riches, is still available to listen online through BBC iPlayer, and to download through the Seriously podcast. Episode 1 looks at the transition of old clothes from second-hand to ‘vintage’, and how our attitude to used clothing has changed over a century and more. It features a wealth of contributors from Vogue’s thrifting connoisseur Bay Garnett to fashion auction pioneer Kerry Taylor and even my mum. Episode 2 looks at the global ramifications of our cast-off clothes. It took me from charity shops to sorting warehouses in Leeds and the markets and tailors of Dakar, Senegal.
For more regular updates you can keep up with me on Instagram and Twitter, and if you’re interested in learning more about fashion history, I’m teaching my short course again at London College of Fashion. Fashion History: The Evolution of Style covers key moments in fashion history and theory over 200 years, from the French Revolution through to the 1990s, and it’s running in November and February. BOOKING and info HERE.
Until next time!