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Understanding Fashion History

Valerie Cumming



ISBN: 9781849940825

ASIN: 9781849940825

Price: £ 13.99

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Publication date: 3 June 2021

Category: Fashion

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The generous reception given to Understanding Fashion History when it was first published in 2004 recognised it as a timely reappraisal of the role of fashion and its place in society. The book introduces the reader to the ways fashionable dress has been defined and studied since the late 17th century, considering the theories that surround the subject, the assembling and use of collections of fashion and textiles, the significance of dress and art, the tension between uniformity of appearance and disguise, and the purpose of theatrical costume. 

This book has been read and recommended by academics, collectors, curators, students and general readers who want context for the contemporary obsession with fashion. Constantly in demand, it has become a classic text in its field.


Valerie Cumming is a dress and social historian who worked in museums as a costume curator, as a senior administrator and currently as chairman of the Olive Matthews Collection at Chertsey Museum. She is a trustee of the Bullard and Callow Trusts (Museums Association) and was chairman of the Costume Society from 2004 to 2009. She has written and lectured extensively and her publications include books, articles, essays and reviews.