Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Déboutonner la mode - My most treasured Book

This book is the catalogue from an exhibition I went to see while visiting Paris last year. It was a surprise visit. Our host offered to take us to Louvre, though not to see the main exhibition, but a small one, dedicated to fashion jewellery and buttons and their history. While the jewellery section, which turned out to be really small, offered some interesting pieces, it was the button exhibition that really impressed us (not only me, a regular button enthusiast).

The book was also a surprise, as I got it as a present.

My book and some antique French buttons

The book 'Déboutonner la mode' shows some of the items I saw in Louvre just as they were displayed, with high quality close-up photos. They were grouped by technique and material, for example, the buttons below are made of natural materials, such as feathers and even sunflower seeds!

I do encourage you to see it in a larger size!

I was really impressed by the oldest part of the exhibition, where we could see embroidered buttons. What a precision! - I thought, but then, it was explained that first the fabric was emroidered and only then it was turned into fabric covered buttons. Otherwise, I guess, it would be entirely impossible to achieve such precision.

antique embroidered buttons on a, XVIII century suit

Lots of world famous designers were mentioned and their works shown. I especially liked this piece, with butterfly buttons, featured in a big size in the book.

This one is even more impressive in person.

The greatest lesson for me to learn was about the button master Henri Hamm. Until last year I had never heard of him. But his buttons formed the core part of the exhibition, with some 900 pieces designed by Hamm. I am really happy I have the book to be able to read more about this great man, even though the it is in French and I do not speak that language. I think I can cope with some written French.

A great art deco button designer

Obviously, the book offers much more than this, and if you are interested, you can buy it here. If you know French, you will be able to learn a lot about fashion and button history.

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Tilte: Déboutonner la mode
Author: Veronique Belloir
Language: French
Published: 2015
ISBN: 978-2-916914-54-1

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