I am not a fashion person. But I love good art. And this book is not just fashion but it is art as well. However, I do like history and this book also gives you the history of several subjects and areas. This book needs at least three readings. The first read is so that you look at the fantastic photographs. Savory them. The colors, the art, the funky and fun styles. The second read is for reading the text. There is a lot more than I like when I read a book about fashion (but that’s because I like looking at the pictures of the clothing, shoes, hats, purses) but the stories and information that is included is rich; allowing us to see into the culture behind the images. And the third read is then combining the two; reading both together as a traditional book. (Then you can look at the photographs again! I just can’t get enough of an owl hat or one gentleman’s simple but popping off the page smoothness.)
When I noticed there was an essay in Stepping Out: The Unapologetic Style of African Americans over Fifty that was about/by CCH Pounder I broke my own rule of reading an essay before I finished the reading of the images. I was familiar with her work (most of the models I do not know, but look forward to reading and learning more about them), and was intrigued by her less than subtle outfit and wanted to know why she had such a bold statement. Though I liked her section and images, I cannot pick a favorite photograph. There were too many amazingly beautiful people expressing themselves filling the pages. My only issue was I would have liked to have seen more people, and a bit more variety in the fashion (there was a lot of doubling of the images) but then the book would be way too large to hold (thankfully I was reading via an online reader copy and only had to worry about clicking the “next” button).
Connie Briscoe and Milton Washington are geniuses. They picked people who show that beauty has no boundaries or an age. They show how history and culture, along with personal tastes and experiences, play a role in how people express themselves. And since I really cannot say how good things were, I am just going to sit here and gush type: this is an awesome book with awesome photographs about awesome people with awesome clothes and hats and shoes and tops and jewelry and hair who are really awesome and it is just all fantastically awesomesauce!
The funny thing is, I almost passed it by. Sure that cover was eye-catching, but I was feeling it would not appeal to me, as I said, I do not know or “do” fashion (some days my fashion is making sure the hair is brushed and the socks match). But it is not just a fashion book with skinny models in outrageous outfits. Oh, sure that owl faced hat is pretty outrageous but it is actually practical. You could wear it. And I learned things, too (the hair chapter is enlightening). Due in early December 2023.