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Apr 12, 2014

Saturday Book Break + Demolition!



Readers, do you ever wonder what happens to the people whose homes get demolished as neighborhoods gentrify?

These three modest-sized buildings a block away from where I live were the type most people wouldn't look at twice.  They were charming but not extraordinary, though the red-brick building is easily 19th century.

Here are a few other views:





In March, I noticed they were covered with scaffolding.  Uh oh!





And a few weeks later, this:



And now this morning, a gaping hole.





Nothing lasts forever in the big city.  On the bright side, today buds could be seen on the trees.



Speaking of change, I recently purchased a fabulous coffee table fashion book I wanted to share with you today, Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style (DK Publishing, 2012).   I'd had this approx. 20-lb. tome on my Amazon wishlist for months, but last week someone was selling a used copy for $15 so I grabbed it.   It has many glowing reviews on Amazon.

As you might expect from the title, Fashion: The Definitive History starts in ancient times and goes all the way up to the present, with more than half devoted to the 20th Century.  It's chock full of beautiful color plates and a tremendous amount of visual detail (and accompanying text).

This is a hugely ambitious work and I think it achieves its goals well.  Naturally, there's more on the West than the East, more on women's fashions than men's, and more on the Swinging Sixties than the ancient Etruscans.

Here's just a small taste (you can supersize these pics in Picasa by clicking on them):











 







































This would be a great book for a costumer, vintage sewing aficionado and/or reenactor,  of just someone who loves fashion and fashion history. 

Anybody already own this book or know it?

Have a great day, everybody!

21 comments:

  1. That book is amazing; it's been on my amazon list forever now too :D I love looking at the pics you posted.

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  2. That looks like a fantastic book. i must add it to my own wishlist. It's amazing how timeless beautiful design can be. And thanks for the reminder to get my stays finished. I started them in 2007 (eeek!) and came across them the other day while searching through old sheets to use as muslins. I have been meaning to get around to making an 18th century sack backed gown for years.... I have the pattern and everything. And picked up reams of that velvet used for retail display in the charity shop I volunteer in just before Christmas. I've always thought a sack-backed gown looked so elegant.......though not exactly practical :) It would though be handy though if I ever have to go to a fancy dress party.

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  3. What a wonderful book! I think that I'll put it on my wishlist as well.

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  4. Where I live in inner-city Sydney (Australia) the so called gentrification is happening with full force. My area is in its third wave - first people moved in because it was cheap (me), then people moved in because of the location and potential to restore Victorian terraces and then once the area became desirable and expensive, the developers moved in and demolished the houses and other buildings that made the area desirable to build shoddy apartments and "warehouse" conversions. Now the area is still expensive and desirable but is nothing like the place it was when I moved here pre-gentrification. Government policy encourages high density at the expense of the existing medium density Victorian housing stock, the new apartments are owned by investors so that the population is transient - they rent a couple of years and then move on - so that a sense of community never develops deeper roots than going to the latest bar or cafe. The mix of people and businesses that existed 30 years ago, even ten years ago, is no more and my once lively and livable suburb is now bland and boring and full of people who only want other people like them living here.

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    1. I think it's such a shame. The character, atmosphere, history and sense of community are stripped away :(

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  5. I have that book! I got it for £12 (around $15 I think) from a discount book store last year, it's a lush read, fills the sewing time when I only have 10 mins or so!

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  6. What a wonderful book! I'd love it for the Balenciaga only!

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  7. I so want to see Cathy in that beaded dance dress. She has the perfect figure for the roaring 20's.

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  8. I got this book for Christmas last year. A GREAT addition to my collection!

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  9. I live in Toronto in a neighbourhood with simple 1930's bungalows. (900 square feet). We bought because it was a central, quiet neighbourhood. Now everyone is buying up the bungalows and putting second stories on them. Many of the bigger houses are just ugly….sigh.

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  10. I have that book (my daughter gave it to me for my birthday, bless her heart) and it is indeed fabulous! Whenever I have a spare moment or two, I just open it to any page at random and enjoy.

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  11. Yep, both 19th century for sure (built around 1875). Such a shame to see them go. Love the little bays - I would've put my sewing machine up against the window there and watch the world go by! I'll bet anything that the word "luxury" is going to factor into whatever aluminum or glass box is built there next...

    Nice to read other people's comments, but sad to hear the outcomes. I'm an architectural historian/historic preservationist, so this is a topic very near and dear to my heart.

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    1. The cream-colored building immediately to the left of the red one -- and thankfully still standing -- has an interesting history:

      http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/a-19th-century-hotel-sign-comes-back-into-view/

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  12. Based on my life north of you in Hell's Kitchen, I'd say you're either getting a very generic, sky sucking modern building that caters to the ultra-rich who will buy but never live there or a bank. Or the former with the latter in the lobby. Manhattan's losing all its charm. Not that I'm bitter or anything.... alexandra

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  13. What a wonderful book! I'll have to check that one out, it might end up on my Amazon wish list.

    Ohhhh, dear...I'm always sorry to see old buildings taken down. They just need a some TLC (and a large cash infusion) but sometimes the right person just doesn't come along. Kind of like people. ;)

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  14. Meh, I've been to plenty of parts of my city where the gentrification never comes and I'll take the boring cookie cutter apartments over the rotting wood-broken windows-roaming stray pitbulls-wino peeing on the side of the building- no real plants or flowers unless you count crab grass and broken bottles-roach and rat infestations-electrical wiring that is a fire hazard- old plumbing that is prone to backing up- mystery materials including lead paint and asbestos.

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  15. "Nothing endures but change." - Heraclitus

    Looks like a fantastic book, I will put it on my wish list.

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  16. Oh, I have that book on my wishlist too. Thanks for showing some of the inside details. I want, I want. I received this fashion history set as a gift: http://www.amazon.com/Fashion-Taschen-Anniversary-Costume-Institute/dp/3822827630/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397492766&sr=1-1&keywords=fashion+kyoto and I never, ever tire of looking at it. It seems like there is always a new detail that I find whenever I crack it open.

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  17. My friend has this book as well as "The Definitive Source" books 1930's and the 1940's books. I have used them fr research and they are great.

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  18. It's by my john. I ogle the pics daily and sometimes even read!

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