Based upon the authors large personal collection of beautiful fashion postcards from Edwardian times, this book takes the reader on a journey through that era covering the hat fashions and social changes of the day. Delve further into the carnage that took place around the world, in which unscrupulous and money grabbing individuals, from the Northumbrian coast in England to the Everglades in America, would callously slaughter whole colonies of birds (leaving their young to die) purely to provide the millinery trade with ornate feathers to decorate fashionable hats during that era.
The book also takes the reader into the world of millinery sweatshops of poverty stricken New York and describes the conditions and deprivations under which the poorly paid workers, many of them immigrants, worked. You can even learn about the background, history and amazing life of one of the worlds greatest fashion designers, Coco Chanel, as she set out on her lifetime of fashion in Edwardian Paris.
With superb fashion colour plates of the day, together with images of amazingly creative and colourful hat pins from both the UK and America, the author shares the fruits of his forty years of postcard collecting.
I love fashion and so I was drawn to this book. I also didn't really know much about hat fashion, or what the hat style was for Edwardian ladies - but I do now!
This is just such a charming book, with lovely reproductions of the postcards the author has collected through at times the derision of other postcard collectors.
I had no idea that those hat feathers had caused so much of a stir - where they came from or how they had been sourced. It really was fascinating to read how such a fashion had far reaching effects. I loved also reading about the Palaces that were built around the Ostrich feather trade and seeing them in all their glory.
My favourite pictures are those taken by Edward Linley Sambourne - who took photographs that were not posed, so you get a true glimpse of the people of the time in an informal way. I love social history and these photos were just the best part of the book for me.
I also never knew that hatpins came with so many stylish adornments, nor that they had to restrict the length of them! The most poignant part of the book is a postcard written by a man to his sister whilst on active service in December 1916 - again another slice of real social history.
This really is a gem of a book and one to dip into again and again. I'm giving it four out of five stars.
My thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book to review. I read my copy on my Kindle Fire - you really need to see all those beautiful illustrations in colour.