FASHION BOOKS: REVIEW::FASHION, 150 Years Couturiers, Designers, Labels by Charlotte Seeling`

If you were to walk into my bedroom, besides the ridiculous amount of shoes, you would find design and fashion books everywhere (oh, and fashion mags everywhere, too). I love to read. I love learning something new. So I was so happy to delve into Fashion: 150 Years Couturiers, Designers, Labels. In its over 500 pages, this fabulous book, full of amazingly beautiful images, examines all things fashion from the beginning when France put fashion on the map with its invention of Haute Couture right up to the trendsetters of today. There is never a dull moment.

Haute Couture, which made its debut at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, established the mark by which fashion would be judged. During the Expo, Parisian fashion houses, including the house of Worth and Doucet, presented their decadent wares at what could be considered the first fashion shows. Even though department stores in France opened around 1850, the international press really did not take notice of fashion until these elaborate fashion presentations during the Paris Expo. Thus, the obsession begins.

From the world's first designer, Paul Poiret to the eco-designs of Stella McCartney, no fashion stone is left unturned. You will discover all you will ever need to know about fashion. From the Surrealism of Elsa Schiaparelli to the innovations of Cristobal Balenciaga to the rise of the Dutch and the brilliance of Alexander McQueen. It is all here.

I was tickled to discover that the early Parisian fashion houses dressed the starlets of the moment. I am sure that it was not quite the event that it is today, but interesting to note that there was a connection between fashion and the entertainment industry that dates back to the 1800s.

One of my favorite discussions in the book is surrounding the emancipation of the corset. I could not imagine life with a corset. Wearing spanx and a bra is torture enough. I would have probably gone naked if I would have been bound to a corset in order to appear presentable. It just would not have happened. So I salute women like Colette who utterly refused to do anything that cramped her style, including wearing that ridiculous corset.

It is extremely thorough in its coverage of the world of fashion. There are chapters on Japanese designers, designers who had the undaunting task of taking over the helm of famous fashion houses like Lanvin, YSL, and Givenchy. You will also get a peek into author, Charlotte Seeling's mind as to where the fashion industry is headed.

This book would make an incredible gift for someone who would love to learn what is considered to be the beginning of the fashion industry, as well as the key players and their key contributions. It's an exploration of an industry that tries to reinvent itself every season but clearly pulls from its rich and varied past.

Available at bookstores including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.