Book Looks : "In Vogue: 75 Years of Style"

Author: Georgina Howell.

Info: Conde Nast Books, 1991. $45 hardcover. 255 pages including a comprehensive index and more than 300 photographs in color and black and white.

Howell's analysis provides a unique perspective on the dramatically evolving world of the 20th Century as seen through the pages of Vogue magazine, the oracle of fashion since 1916.

Focusing on couture, designers and clothes, she sets this portrait against the wider changes of social, political and economic forces.

Also reflected in the magazine's pages are trends in art and interior design and photography, even the food we eat. It's a vibrant visual record of modern times. (An index provides reference to the photographers represented, including Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson and David Bailey.)

As Howell says in her introduction, "Writing 'In Vogue' taught me 20th-Century history the only way I can remember it: by the way people talked and stood and danced, what they said and read and ate, who they wanted to look like, what they wore and how they decorated their homes."

Text and photos link, for example, the liberating effects of the music and dance style of the '20s. The book, divided by decades, begins with the Great Escape chapter (1916-23), and moves on through the decades: reckless '20s, threadbare '30s, Fashion by Government Order (the '40s), the fashion-conscious '50s, the revolutionary '60s, the schizophrenic '70s and the aggressive '80s.

This book makes an excellent reference for anyone in a fashion-related industry as well as a fine gift for students of fashion, history, photographer or magazine journalism.

This updated edition of the 1970s book by Howell, redesigned and newly illustrated, is available at Barnes & Noble, Costa Mesa, and other area bookstores.

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