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The First Book of Fashion


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Preface Jochen Luckhardt Introduction I: The First Book of Fashion Ulinka Rublack Introduction II: The Clothing of Matthaus and Veit Schwarz Maria Hayward Editorial Notes The Book of Clothes with Commentaries Reconstructing a Schwarz Outfit Jenny Tiramani German Transcriptions Glossary Acknowledgements

Promotional Information

The first English translation of one of the most important historical sources in fashion history, the First Book of Fashion is a fascinating window on the renaissance and the power of dress.

About the Author

Ulinka Rublack is Professor of Early Modern European History at Cambridge University, UK, and author of Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe. Maria Hayward is Professor in Early Modern European History at the University of Southampton, UK. Jenny Tiramani is the Principal of The School of Historical Dress in London, UK, and a costume designer for theatre and opera.


It's quite simply the most fascinating record of a `[fashion] victim' one could hope for... Never has the mould of form been reflected in the glass of fashion so entertainingly as in this scholarly work. * The Spectator *
Long before the likes of Tavi Gevinson and Bryanboy made careers of taking fashion selfies, a German accountant was busy documenting his outfits: for 40 years in the 16th century, Matthaus Schwarz commissioned watercolour portraits to showcase his daily ensembles, leaving us with the most extraordinary record of Renaissance style, gathered together in his Trachtenbuch (literally, "book of clothes".) * The Independent *
[Rublack and Hayward] have beautifully reassembled the complete series of 137 colour images ... [from Schwarz's] extraordinary book of illuminations. * Times Higher Education *
The story of a life in clothes ... [Rublack and Hayward's] historical observations, especially on colour coding, are valuable keys to unlocking the period. * Times Literary Supplement *
The First Book of Fashion brings together these two fascinating documents, beautifully reproduced with illuminating commentary, to a wider English-speaking readership, for the first time. University and museum libraries will of course buy this book, but the price and quality make this a worthwhile purchase for any student of Renaissance fashion and cultural history. * Costume *
The popularity of YouTube `haul videos,' fashion vlogs, and shoefies is often derided as a sign of the times, if not a sign of the end of times ... But the impulse to catalogue, classify, and, ultimately, communicate one's fashion choices is nothing new ... The illuminated Klaidungsbuchlein, or "book of clothes," compiled by the Augsburg accountant Matthaus Schwarz between 1520 and 1560 is a proto-Kardashian book of selfies ... In this fashion, he assembled 137 images of himself over 40 years-a selfie record unmatched until the advent of photography ... it will reach a wider audience than Matthaus and his son ever dreamed. And it may even prompt readers to reconsider Millennials-with their solipsism and pics-or-it-didn't-happen visual acuity-as the harbingers of a second Renaissance ...The First Book of Fashion serves as a reminder that, like other forms of culture, fashion is a product of its time. -- Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell * The Atlantic *
The editors [of this book] have achieved something rare: being both a scientifically sound and aesthetically enticing volume, it not only catches the interests of historians but also addresses manufacturing specialists of historical and contemporary clothing and in addition manages to appeal to a broader fashion-conscious public. * Zeitschrift fur Historische Forschung (Bloomsbury translation) *
With its exquisite reproductions of the first (and second) book of fashion, this gorgeous book provides something for everyone: students and scholars of Renaissance and Reformation culture and society, dress historians, historical re-enacters, costume designers, and simply fans of fashion. In its images and commentary, we meet a man who chronicled his life's passing through the clothes that he ordered, purchased, wore, and described in loving detail, and the son who both imitated and mocked him. Matthaus Schwarz sought perfection, but knew it was elusive, in his clothing, himself, or the booming Renaissance city in which he lived. The insightful contextualizations of this unique manuscript by Ulinka Rublack and her colleagues allow us to see connections with our own obsessions with self-presentation and the passage of time, yet also recognize Schwarz's distinctive perspective on his own era of dramatic change. * Merry E Wiesner-Hanks, Editor, Sixteenth Century Journal and The Journal of Global History *
The First Book of Fashion tells the fascinating story of Matthaus Schwarz (b. 1497), a bourgeois man in Renaissance Germany, who was as fashion-obsessed as the trendiest teenagers in contemporary Tokyo. Like them, he documented his changing styles in a series of painted "selfies," which he gathered together in a little "book of clothes," which has now been brilliantly analyzed by the scholars Ulinka Rublack and Maria Hayward. Together, pictures and text provide unprecedented insight into the role of fashion in the creation of one individual's identity. * Valerie Steele, multi-award-winning fashion scholar and Director of the Museum at FIT, New York, US *
An exemplary edition of an amazing document, whether we read it as evidence for the history of self-representation or for the history of costume, whether worn or imagined. * Peter Burke, University of Cambridge, UK *
The First Book of Fashion provides an extraordinary insight into the sartorial world of the sixteenth century. Rublack's exacting and lively scholarship re-writes our historical understanding of men's relationship with their clothes, and the stunning visual material brings Matthaus Schwarz alive for the twenty-first century. * Christopher Breward, University of Edinburgh, UK *
The First Book of Fashion is an extraordinary resource: an illustrated wardrobe inventory that not only lifts the curtain on clothes, but the cultural and personal contexts that shaped their wearing and their wearer. This jewel-bright little manuscript is a tiny treasure and I have nothing but admiration and praise for the authors' commentary. * Susan J. Vincent, University of York, UK *
With this publication, Rublack (Univ. of Cambridge, UK) and Hayward (Univ. of Southampton, UK)-both scholars of early modern European history-make available an extraordinary resource for those interested in clothing of the Renaissance. The book includes two insightful introductions focusing on the clothing depicted by Matthaus Schwarz, a style-conscious accountant, and his son Veit Konrad Schwarz...A bonus is the inclusion of a bespoke pattern and instructions, created by Tony award-winning costume designer and dress historian Jenny Tiramani, for reconstructing a Schwarz outfit. Summing up: Highly recommended. * CHOICE *

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