by Caroline Rennolds Milbank
review by Anna Ferreira

The book cover form "The Couture Accessory">

  Imagine - youíve just finished dressing, and are now choosing your accessories. You know these can make a difference between looking just nice or looking really special. Need help? Author Caroline Rennolds Milbank invites you to enter the "closet" of her book The Couture Accessory. 

Filled with photos of "the little nothings (exquisite and amusing objects of consummate workmanship) formerly sold exclusively in the band box boutiques in the great couture houses" youíll find no difficulty in choosing spectacular pieces to complete your look.

Shoes? Try suede platform sandals c.1940s by Adrian. Handbag? Chanelís quilted leather one c.1950s still looks great. Hat? Cardenís felt helmet c. 1960s is flattering. Jewelry? Yves St. Laurentís resin bib necklace in shades of citrine and emerald c. 1987 will help you stand out!

Created by the great designers, the accessories complement their clothing. These hats, pocketbooks, shoes, couture jewels, belts, scarves, shawls, gloves and headdresses helped "crystallize their designers vision" and as such provide "an intriguing lens with which to examine fashionís evolution." 

The author does this in chapters devoted to twenty-seven great designers such as Balenciaga, Dior, McCardell, Schiaparelli, Versace and Vionnet. She describes each designerís history, style and idiosyncrasies. Illustrating the text are exceptional photos of "these charismatic objects of fashion history."

Beautiful enough for the proverbial coffee table, but much, much more valuable in your reference library, The Couture Accessory is an excellent book of 20th century fashion history.


Review reprinted with permission from Vintage Fashion & Costume Jewelry and the author

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