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History of International Fashion
Didier Grumbach

published 2014 • 6 ¾” x 9 ½” • 480 pages • 232 full-color and 158 b&w photos
ISBN 9781566569767 • hardback • $45.00

“You can’t ask for a more knowledgeable and entertaining guide to the art and business of fashion than Grumbach, who has long been at the epicenter of the industry. The original edition of his definitive history has been a best-seller in Europe for two decades. The first English edition is thoroughly updated and abundantly illustrated. An extraordinarily in-depth report, it is richly layered with up-close profiles, energetic and expert analysis, and insider tales enlightening and scandalous. Grumbach covers the evolution of haute couture and the knotty regulations that have controlled every aspect of its operations while tracing the careers of such indelible designers as Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and Nina Ricci, and onward to Issey Miyake, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Sonia Rykiel. He reveals shocking financial struggles and organizational battles and betrayals as outlandish and dramatic as over-the-top fashion shows. Grumbach’s dissection of the ready-to-wear world is even more compelling with its cast of intense personalities, cut-throat competition, and audacious practices, including the explosion in branding and licensing. Much of this is channeled through Grumbach’s own extensive experiences, beginning with his family’s textile company, where he strove ‘to create ready-to-wear that had the same quality manufacturing as haute couture.’ Grumbach concludes with a shrewd look at today’s globalized fashion industry. Just like the best designer clothes, this exposé is both dazzling and enduring.”
Booklist, starred review


More Reviews »


FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED BOOK OPENS THE DOOR TO THE FASCINATING UNIVERSE OF FASHION

This book is not just a history of fashion from the early days of the creation of dressmaking fashion to the development of ready-to-wear manufacturing and the global enterprise it is today. Its ambition is to be the story of the creation, the evolution, and the implosion of the fashion related professions.
        With readable, highly-informative, and entertaining text—coupled with stunning photography—this book offers valuable insights into a profession which, unlike any other social body, is determined as much by its origins as by its economic context.
        Didier Grumbach walks you down the runways of fashion history and unfolds the secrets of the industry with stories and accounts from those who have played an active part in its development from the 1920s to the present. And he knows what he is talking about: he was born, grew up and made his mark in the circle that he opens for us here. For decades, he has collected archives, met with witnesses, interacted with the most influential players, and opened doors which are normally kept firmly shut. In his international bestseller, he finally offers us a 20th century illustrated history of fashion like no other—a  saga, a family business, with noble fathers, prodigal sons, enthusiasms, passions, hatreds, strokes of genius and, of course, failures. The heroes are Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Kenzo, Sonia Rykiel, Prada, Hermès, and others. Their adventures are presented in an innovative chronological—and logical—order.
        From haute couture to the boom in ready-to-wear, the clothing industry, creators and designers, we witness the evolution in techniques, the shifting trends in the market, how an art matures and a culture changes. We also discover how the French ventured out of Paris to meet New York, London, Tokyo and Beijing.
        This book is a must for fashion lovers, professionals, and students who will find a thousand references never before presented. It will also enlighten the curious reader who wishes to go behind the scenes of this most seductive of theatres.

Didier Grumbach is one of the most discreet, yet powerful and prestigious figures in the world of fashion. In 1966, he co-founded Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche with Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Between 1968 and 1973, he worked alongside Hubert de Givenchy in Givenchy Nouvelle Boutique. In 1971, Grumbach created the company Créateurs & Industriels, in order to bridge the gap between designers and the industry: in that context, he featured the first shows of designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. He discovered Thierry Mugler’s talent very early on, and, in 1978, founded and became the chairman of the company that bears the designer’s name. He then served as chairman of Yves Saint Laurent, Inc. In 1985, he joined the staff of the Institut Français de la Mode, where he served as Director of Studies, and then as Dean of the Professorial Staff. In 1998, he was elected chairman of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. His book, Histoires de la Mode, first published in French in 1993, and updated in 2008 and 2014, has been translated into numerous languages, including Chinese, Portuguese and Romanian.


Media Reviews
“Grumbach, a popular and indefatigable figure on the Paris fashion scene… is a living encyclopedia about French fashion’s creative legacy, and its industrial history… He compiled his experiences and brushes with some of the 20th century’s most important fashion figures… Couture was always a particular passion for Grumbach, who could often be seen welling up at fashion shows. He championed new high-fashion entrants such as Bouchra Jarrar and Alexis Mabille, as well as stalwarts including Adeline André, viewing couture as a versatile tool, platform and observatory for business and creativity.” 
—Miles Socha, European Editor, Women’s Wear Daily

"Industry veteran Grumbach takes you through the history of fashion in this lavishly illustrated book, from its humble beginnings to today's superstar designers. As he explains, the first designers were low-ranking dressmakers, who, until the 17th century, couldn't even cross over into private industry without becoming subjects to fines and virtual witch-hunts. The dawning of recognition for these artisans came in 1675 when King Louis XIV gave master dressmakers official status. Fashion fans will be happily caught up in Grumbach's history of the first designers to be officially known as such, including innovators like Charles Fredrick Worth, Charles Poynter Redfern, Jacques Doucet, and Paul Poiret. Dispersed within this narrative are fun tidbits, like how today's fashion shows started with one Lady Duff-Gordon, a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic who preferred to stage her showings at teatime. Grumbach moves on to the establishment of categories of style, such as ready to wear and haute couture, and to the decline and unlikely rise of the latter category, brought about by WWII. While the world was reeling from war and the Wall Street crash, he explains, haute couture flourished in occupied France thanks to negotiations with German authorities. Fascinating… undeniably informative book... casual and passionate fashion aficionados alike should both enjoy seeing how the people and industry that determines what we wear has changed over time."
—Publishers Weekly

“Grumbach has long been a major figure in the world of French fashion, first as the head of his family's textile company, C Mendès in 1963, in 1966 as cofounder of Saint Laurent Rive Gauche with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and most recently from 1998, as the chairman of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, from which he retired in 2014. In this book, originally published in French in 1993 and now updated and translated into English for the first time, the author chronicles the history of the French fashion business from the rise of haute couture in the 1920s to the rebirth of couture after World War II and the expansion of this industry in which couturiers such as Dior licensed their names to items such as stockings and created perfumes that symbolized their fashion houses. Grumbach also describes the rise of ready-to-wear fashion in the late 1960s and 1970s with the birth of brands such as Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Sonia Rykiel. In his postscript, he brings this history of French fashion up to date, discussing the globalization of the art form and the rise of large fashion group conglomerates such as LVMH, which dominate much of luxury fashion today. VERDICT With numerous archival images and personal anecdotes from this industry insider, this work is recommended for anyone interested in the history of the fashion business.”
—Library Journal



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