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.
Françoise Tétart-Vittu studied art history at the Sorbonne and specialized in the costume history of the 18th and 19th centuries. For many years she was head of the graphic arts department and curator at the Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris. She is author of many books on costume history.
„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
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