Styles come and and go, but fashion has an enduring appeal, a rich history, and an everyday practical relevance for millions.
Launched to coincide with London Fashion Week 2014, this book offers a host of new perspectives on a classic subject. Professional fashion expert Amber Jane Butchart casts a quizzical eye over fashion's oddities, revealing the histories of such garments as the Adelaide boot, the origins of many technical terms and a host of entertaining quotes and aphorisms from the field's most colourful names.
Specially-commissioned line illustrations from Penelope Beech complete the book, making it a feast for the eyes as well as treat for the stylish soul.
Amber specialises in the historical intersections between dress, politics and culture. She has written books on the perennial influence of nautical dress and the impact of film on fashion, and she is regularly asked to speak at cultural hotspots from the Tate to the V&A.
Amber recently presented A Stitch in Time, a six-part series on BBC Four that fused biography, art and the history of fashion to explore the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. It was described as "snappy and engaging" by The Guardian, "hugely enjoyable" by The Telegraph and "mesmerising" by the Radio Times. This was followed by Civilisations Stories: The First Refugees for BBC One and BBC Four, about the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields for the landmark BBC Civilisations season. Her two-part documentary for BBC Radio 4 tracked the rise of vintage clothing and the global ramifications of secondhand style (see here for more).
Amber's expertise spans a number of areas. She is a National Crime Agency External Advisor as a Consultant Forensic Garment Analyst, working with Alecto Forensics on cases that require investigation of clothing and textiles. She is an Associate Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion, and a former Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London. She has penned articles for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Icon and The Pool, and is a regular contributor to Frieze.
Amber began her career as Head Buyer and Trend Analyst for international vintage clothing company Beyond Retro. During this time she was interviewed for The Observer as one of the fashion world's best buyers and photographed for Vogue as a girl with great British style. She established the Beyond Retro Design Archive which sells vintage inspiration pieces to global fashion houses, and she was a contributor to leading trend forecasting company WGSN. She has also worked as a design consultant for fashion brands.
Amber is one half of creative collaboration the Broken Hearts, whose spectacular DJ sets were described by The Independent as "a Hollywood musical on hallucinogenics." Together they have graced stages across the globe from Paris to New York and Hong Kong for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton. Their weekly primetime radio show on Jazz FM ran for over 3 years, earning them a Radio Academy Award nomination, and was described by The Guardian as "a cool swing music show hosted by two vintage style icons." To find out more, visit their website.