Here is a list of some books that I have in my collection and use for Reference.
Oxide 2 – Hyung-Tae Kim
My first stop for design inspiration. This extremely rare book features the artwork of Hyung-Tae Kim who designed the characters for the video game series’ Magna Carta and the War of Genesis. The book is entirely made up of artwork, with a only a few captions. Hyung-Tae Kim’s costume design is striking, surprising, stylish and — most strange for a video game designer — actually possible to wear. His knowledge of fabric and the way it hangs, and the use of undergarments to create different silhouettes is readily apparent.
Fabricate – Susan Wasinger
Extremely Highly Recommended. This fully illustrated “how-to” technique book by Wasinger shows you 17 ways to turn basic fabrics into something more stylized and textured. Each technique is simple (for the most part) and ingenious, and I have utilized many of them. The techniques are hard to describe without seeing images, but applied to historical or fantastical costuming, they can bring an undefinable edge. Projects include shredding layers of silk, sewing innumerate centimeter wide pleats, crinkling fabrics, making fabric out of melted plastic, etc. It’s pretty awesome.
Fashion – Taschen, The Kyoto Fashion Institute
Awesome first half, highly recommended. The second half is part surreal and part worthless. Available in many editions. This book is a plethora of full and detailed images of historical costumes from 1700 – 2000. From 1700 to 1920 the book is simply spectacular, showing off clothes from the height of fashion as well as from the working classes. The Georgian, Rococo, Regency and Victorian gown images are absolutely stunning. Many are shown from various angles as well!
However, from 1920 on, the book stops chronicling actual fashion trends, and starts showing couture clothing and finally evolves into showing images of unwearable (literally in a few cases, what the hell?), often-times unsightly, avant-garde crap. There are no images or even references to the sleek cuts of the 60s-70s, nor the hippie movement. There are only a few small pages on the nightmare that was the 80s, and nothing on modern men’s suits or the take-over of multiple styles of t-shirts and jeans in late century fashion. While I highly recommend this book for purchase, get the discount edition at Barnes and Noble, or only the first book of the initial release.
Embellish with Anything – Gladys Love
Great information for fabric artists, this fully illustrated “how-to” book shows how to utilize and alter fabrics to create artwork. These techniques are more advanced than general step-by-step guides, and require a little bit more equipment and patience to complete. However, they can be used by a talented person to create amazing and striking works of art. Her focus seems to be to bring out the reader’s creativity with ideas rather than just giving them a project to make, and the images show a range of results created using her initial technique. Projects include making your own beads out of fabrics, making your own custom appliques, beading and machine embroidery, and a really ingenious use of the zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine to make a tree out of thread (on the cover).
Dangerous Liasons – The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Great for Marie Antoinette and Rococo lovers! A bunch of pictures of clothing from the late 1700s (Rococo) and a long essay on the subject with full historical costume illustrations/paintings. This book features full color photographs of numerous women’s gowns and men’s outfits from numerous angles (Including details), placed in life-size dioramas of rooms featuring actual historical furnishings. One of the most amazing things in the book, though, is the wigs, which are some of the best wig designs I have ever seen. There are quite a few paintings and illustrations, full page, which are also attractive. Kind of pricey, but I picked mine up at the Met and I think it was worth it.
Elegant Ribbonwork – Helen Gibb
Ho, man, this is a USEFUL book for ribbon-work! Helen Gibb gives us a “how-to” book on her masterful floral ribbon-work process with full color photographs of her completed projects throughout. Helen Gibb’s floral ribbon-work shows a mastery of color, proportion, and taste. This book is put together differently from other “how-to” books, in that there are no “projects” presented. Helen Gibb’s work is shown in full detail, itemized and measured, with a list of steps, and then the actual techniques for making each flower are presented all together in the back. I have used this book on numerous occasions, though I have never developed the stamina it takes to make a detailed piece. Techniques in the book cover nearly every type of ribbon flower you can make, not just the rose or the rosette, as well as different types of leaves.