The Costumerís Bookshelf,
While there are many books about Western fashion and Haute Couture, there are few books on tribal and ethnic textiles currently available.† When new titles hit the bookshelves, they all too quickly go out of print.† Museum publications generally are available on the market for a longer period of time and this month I would like to suggest a wonderful book published by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.† Rosemary Crill is the Deputy Curator of the Indian and Southeast Asian Department.† Her most recent textile publication, Indian Embroidery, is sure to delight and inspire the Middle Eastern dance costume designer
The scholarly introduction presents a brief overview of the history of Indian embroidery and introduces the terminology associated with different eras starting with very early embroidery dating to 2000 BC.† Her text refers to the pictures to illustrate her points. The back of the book includes detailed close up photos to serve as a visual glossary. Costumers who are looking for new color combinations, surface design techniques, shapes and patterns will find inspiration in the many images the book contains.
For dancers interested in historical recreations, this book includes a few images of early 16th through 18th century textiles made for export to Europe and for domestic use.† Those interested in tribal textiles will fall in love with the large section on folk and tribal textiles that includes garments such as choli (shirt), aba (dress) and ezar (pants.)† There are also lovely examples of domestic textiles such as toran (ornamental doorway decoration) and chackla (wall hangings.) For those generally interested in costume, the book has a wealth of information about the worldwide impact of Indian textile production and technique.† This book includes a chapter on textiles made specifically for export to Europe and other parts of the globe.
Itís a treat to get to pour over the vibrant images and dazzle at the beauty of these museum quality pieces. This book will teach you what the ďbestĒ looks like and what itís called so that when you are out shopping for costume pieces, decorative items, or yardage to transform into new garments, you will know what you are looking at.† Next time you are wandering through an ethnic community with shops selling imported goods from India, you will feel less fear and hesitation to go in and check out the cloth, sari fabric and garments available.†† This is an excellent resource that belongs on the costumerís bookshelf.