Book Review: 50s Fashion

Pepin Press is a Dutch publishing house started as a one-man graphic design and book production operation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Run by namesake Pepin van Roojen, these books all seem to focus on snapshots of deep niches in design; be it typography, packaging design, crowns, or kimono patterns. It’s a wholly homegrown operation, and much of the material is culled from his own decorative art originals, textiles, and fashion archives.

50s Fashion is the 4th instalment in a series on textile design. Concentrating on the major influences of the later part of the era including florals, abstract art, graphic designs, asymmetric prints, folk art illustration, and novelty prints. Due to advancements in mass printing and technology and a collective cultural desire to leave behind the war-torn, austere ’40s in favour of a “fun and modern” lifestyle, the textile market of the ’50s exploded with these eclectic prints.

The bulk of the book is high-quality, close-up photos of individual textile prints, accompanying period garments made from those prints, and vintage illustration plates and advertisements, all organized according to influence. The small amount of text is limited to a brief, general introduction to women’s fashion in the decade, a highlight of Parisian blouse trends and textile inspirations, and a small excerpt on bathing suit textiles. Some explainations of specific prints can be found, but are not the focus of the book. A fun and welcomed bonus is a CD, with high and low-resolution images of many patterns in the book, which Pepin allows people to copy for small-scale, personal and commercial use.

The side-by-side of print and garment are helpful, to see how the fabrics fall on a three-dimensional form, as it can create quite a different perception of pattern and scale, though they are styled with contemporary hair and make-up. Overall, its best use is probably as a supplemental text for a vintage or design aficionado in need of a reference point, rather than a primer on a decade of textile prints.

50s Fashion (Pepin Fashion, Textiles and Patterns series, No. 4) Edited by Pepin van Roojen. Pepin Press, 2010

review by Magenta Piroska

photography by Jessica da Silva

Don’a-tell-a Donatella: How I Defied the Versace Brand by Wearing their Clothes while also Being a Regular Person

Versace was always a little too much for me—too bright, too tight, too sex-bomb. But when a girl I know pulled this dress out of her filing cabinet (a fashion magic trick) and offered it to me, how could I refuse?

Let me introduce you to the newest Awesome Thing in my Closet: quintessential ’90s Versace in the form of a printed zip-front minidress. It’s made of weirdly thick fabric, and is quite warm, which I did not expect. It also rides up—but just enough to scandalize, never to humiliate. (From what I have seen of this brand, this may be part of the design.) The yellow-gold bauble that hangs off the zipper could, if I turned my head fast enough, give me a concussion.

It also looks awesome with combat boots and makes an excellent outfit for my part-time video store job.

Which is just as Gianni intended, I’m sure.

text by g.
photography by Jessica Da Silva

YouTube Gurus

Sometime last year, my television went kaput, and my heart was left with a void that I slowly replaced with a YouTube obsession. The beauty gurus and their elaborate tutorials are a particular favourite.

To be honest, I pretty much repel colour. My wardrobe consists of strictly neutrals, as well as my make-up bag. I tend to live vicariously through the tutorials rather than try to mimic them, but it’s an art form to admire.

Dustin Hunter’s youtube channel is full of informative make-up tips and drastic yet wearable tutorials. His looks are always very bold and smokey. I find myself constantly on his channel searching for reviews of beauty products, trusting his opinions over store employees.
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What I Wore to Worn: Peghah Channels the Night

What inspired this outfit?
I don’t think any particular thing inspired it for me. I tend to be drawn to wearing darker things, and I always like clothes that have movement to them.

Tell me about one of the items you’re wearing?
I am wearing my favourite pair of shoes. I got these last fall and the more I wear them and rough them up, the more I like the way they look.

What’s the best book to read in this outfit?
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, because when there is too much darkness, comedic relief is always necessary. That book is a perfect blend of the two.

What style icon would wear this outfit?
I’m not sure who would wear it, but I do know who I would like to put it on: Kate Lanphear.

shopping credits
Top from Aritzia, denim top from Acne, Jeans from Rag&Bone, shoes from Surface to Air.

photography by Jessica da Silva