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Fine art and fashion

ART DECO FASHION. By Suzanne Lussier

ESSENTIAL ART DECO. By Ghislaine Wood. Vamp;A Publications pound;12.95 each

These are two of several books published to accompany the Vamp;A Art Deco 1910-1939 exhibition. Although Essential Art Deco is predominantly a picture book, the text in both books is concise, informative and very readable; an ideal introduction for students with a short attention span.

Essential Art Deco describes the six strands that contribute to the eclectic Art Deco style: "Stylised Nature", "The Exotic", "Geometry and Abstraction", "The City and Machine" and "Streamlining". The emphasis throughout is on glamour and fantasy; and the yearning for modernity as a forward-looking salve to the bruising war years.

Art Deco Fashion continues to trace the influences on clothes and jewellery design of the period and demonstrates how fashion and the fine arts developed a symbiotic relationship.

The author describes how the emancipated climate of the post war years heralded fashions which catered for the more confident woman and cites the visit of the Ballet Russes to Paris as the catalyst which kick-started the genre. Along with a the stylings of Diaghilev, inspiration was drawn from the Far East, Africa and the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb which brought a fascination with the motifs of ancient Egypt.

Vamp;A publications have always had an eye to the curricular needs of school students and these titles are no exception. They are a valuable resource for contextual links and comparative studies.

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