Cover image for Contemporary fashion
Contemporary fashion
Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Detroit : St. James Press/Gale Group/Thomson Learning, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxi, 743 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TT505.A1 C66 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



More than 400 designers, milliners, footwear designers, companies and textile houses are featured in this lavishly illustrated, hardbound reference book. Entries are listed alphabetically and contain the following critical elements: biographical summary; primary and secondary bibliography, including articles and exhibition catalogs; and a signed, critical essay by an expert in the field.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The second edition of Contemporary Fashion, a revision of the late Richard Martin's 1995 edition, provides students and scholars with useful information on more than 400 fashion leaders from the 1940s to today. New entries include Stella McCartney, Vera Wang, and companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret. Each alphabetically arranged entry contains a capsule biography or company history, a list of books and articles by or about the designer, an essay, and in some of the entries a brief quote from the subject on design philosophy or his or her work. Unique to this edition is an advisory board of industry professionals who helped choose approximately 50 new designers and companies. The number of photographs has doubled from the previous edition. A "Nationality Index" provides the only indexing. A similar publication is Anne Stegemeyer's Who's Who in Fashion (Fairchild, 1996). Although it includes color photos, unlike Contemporary Fashion's black-and-white photos, only 250 fashion designers are represented, with very brief entries and no individual designer bibliographies. Another recent title, In an Influential Fashion: An Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Fashion Designers and Retailers Who Transformed Dress [RBB Ag 02], focuses primarily on the U.S. and serves as a good general introduction for high-school and public libraries. Large public libraries and academic libraries serving fashion and design programs will find the more comprehensive Contemporary Fashion useful.

Choice Review

If "contemporary" denotes currency, seven years since the first edition (CH, Feb'96) seems laggardly in updating. Benbow-Pfalzgraf (ed., American Women Writers, 2nd ed., 4v., 2000) follows in the scholarly footsteps of that bellwether edition, which elevated fashion to an art form. The publisher includes the volume in its "Contemporary Arts Series." International in scope, it includes more than 450 influential clothing and accessories designers representing 32 countries, design houses, and companies, constituting an encyclopedia of the fashion business. At the confluence of art, fashion, and culture, the designs give flesh to the diversity of contemporary fashion, from haute couture to shopping malls, inspired by popular culture, high technology, futurism, and folk or ethnic dress. Entries offer capsule biographies (or company histories); signed, critical essays by experts, half a page long to a page or more; and bibliographies of publications and exhibition catalogs. Essays, many enhanced with quotes by designers about their work or design philosophy, cover principles of design, creativity, styles, major lines, unique signatures, fabrics and colors, and licensed brands. Illustrations are lavish--black-and-white photographs and sketches (double the number in the first edition), and occasionally a photograph of the designer. Addresses are included, Web site addresses when available. The 74 contributors are scholars or critics in fashion and costume history. Oddly, this fashion-business mix omits mention of the mass migration of American apparel manufacturing to foreign countries, although charges of exploiting workers and sweatshop conditions (like the Nike case) are sometimes reported. Essential for academic libraries supporting fashion and design programs; recommended for public and art museum libraries. M. F. Morris East Carolina University