Togas, turbans, tailcoats, and top hats

The evolution of style from antiquity to 1888

Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted. Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through the end of the 19th century, the great work—published in six volumes containing nearly 500 plates—remains, to this day, unique in its scope and detail.

Racinet’s organization by culture and subject has been preserved in TASCHEN’s magnificent and complete reprint, as have excerpts from his delightful descriptions and often witty comments. Volume 1 contains all the plates from Racinet’s work, reproduced in brilliant quality and showing the original’s love for detail and color. Volume 2 collects the texts accompanying the images, giving descriptions and explanations, as well as the introduction by Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

Perusing these beautifully detailed and exquisitely colored illustrations, you’ll discover everything from the garb of ancient Etruscans to traditional Eskimo attire to 19th century French women’s couture. Though Racinet’s study spans the globe from ancient times through his own, his focus is on European clothing from the Middle Ages to the 1880s and this subject is treated with exceeding passion and attention to detail.
The author:
Françoise Tétart-Vittu is head of the graphic arts department at the Musée de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris. She studied art history at the Sorbonne and she specializes in the costume history of the 18th and 19th centuries. The author of many books on costume history and curator of exhibits, she lives and works in Paris.
Racinet. Complete Costume History (Jumbo)

Racinet. Complete Costume History


Hardcover, 2 vols. in slipcase, 9.4 x 12.4 in., 792 pages
New edition, only $ 59.99
Original edition $ 200
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
  • Reviews
„Die Damen trugen gelbe Schuhe mit roten Sohlen sowie gefärbte und gepuderte Haare. Wo erfährt man so was? In Auguste Racinets Kostümgeschichte. Die Fundgrube für alle, die die Welt im Detail verstehen wollen.”
— Die Zeit, Hamburg, Germany
  • See also
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Kate Moss by Mario Testino
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Softcover with flaps, 9.8 x 13.6 in., 232 pages
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Original edition $ 700