The London Fashion Book
By Andrew Tucker
Rizzoli, 192 pages, 1998
A teen in the 1980s, the 1990s were all about being in my twenties. This blog is almost exclusively dedicated to my angsty, fashion-filled ‘80s, but today I thought it would be fun to fast-forward a decade to my angsty, fashion-filled twenties after dusting off my copy of The London Fashion Book.
Published in 1998, it is without a doubt, a book of its time, documenting the London fashion scene as it was, at that moment. Books of this nature are typically at once fascinating and dated. Depending on your experience of that particular moment in fashion-time, The London Fashion Book will either appeal to your nostalgic side or — if you weren’t a fashion-obsessed ‘90s gal-about-town — make you wonder who half these designers author Andrew Tucker is talking about are.
Naturally, the book kicks off with names we all know: Westwood, Galliano, McQueen. This is great, of course, with nice big pictures, behind-the-scenes snaps and analyses of their late-‘90s collections.
It’s when we wade further into the book that things get a little murky. Sectioned into seven main parts (The Greatest, Modern Classic, New Savile Row, Cutting Edge, The Thoroughbreds, Haute Hippie and The New Generation), all the big British names of the decade are here, including Stella McCartney, Matthew Williamson, Hussein Chalayan, Paul Smith, Patrick Cox, et al., but it’s profiles of lesser-known designers that really fill out the bulk of the book.
This can be interesting in the sense that a name you haven’t heard in a while makes you smile and sparks a memory. It can also provide an introduction to designers whose work you may not have known at the time. And while this is well and good for the true student of fashion, as a general guide to the London fashion scene, it’s too dated and specific. If ‘90s fashion is your thing, The London Fashion Book will be a welcome addition to your library. but if it’s just stories about the big names you’re looking for, you’re best to give this one a pass.