Monday, April 28, 2014

Mother's Day Books: MBFW Look Book, Decades of Hats & Downton Abbey Cookbook

Keepsake books on fashion and cuisine Mom (or you) will treasure!
If you missed Spring 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC -  last fall, here is an amazing consolation prize: The SFP Lookbook - Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Collections New York.(Schiffer Publishing)

Burberry Spring 2014

With this large coffee table book, you can see the runway unfold right before your eyes with your favorite fashion designers from the S/S 2014 shows. All of the top designers and fashion houses are there including two whom I've met through our shared work with the Ice Theatre of New York: Vera Wang and Nichole Miller.

The Vera Wang Spring 2014 show.
384 full color pages allow you to relive the shows with designers like: Herve Leger, Badgley Mischka, Lacoste, Diesel Black Gold, Tory Burch, Zac Posen as well as up an coming designers from the Academy of Art University & Project Runway to name only a few.

Nichole Miller designed these gowns for the ITNY ice show.
 This is a keepsake treasure that you can use now to build your spring-summer outfits. Having a detailed look-book like this allows you to see how to include updated elements from the runway shows to your own wardrobe. Simply exquisite! Edited by Jessie Marth for Schiffer Fashion Press, copyright 2014 or visit online.

Decades of Hats 1900s to the 1970's by Sue Nightingale (Schiffer Publishing)
This VERY entertaining yet informative book takes you right through the "Flapper Era" with all sorts of stops along the way. The book's plates show advertisements for everything from hair extensions, (yes they sold them then too), to hats which look quite similar to those worn by the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Princess Kate) today. In fact if you didn't know better, you'd think Philip Treacy was designing back then. Truth is, up until the late 1960's, hats and gloves were quite common place for going out in public even in America. Queen Elizabeth's Queen Mum never felt "dressed" going out without one of her signature soft floppy brims. 

Todd Smith & Co Hats from circa 1904
Some of my favorite hats in this book are from 1920 - 1929 as many of them have not changed very much down to this day.  The main thing I would note is that the hats are far more ornate than what we would see today but that may also be due to changing styles and availability of raw materials, (can you say "Ostrich Feathers?).

Contemporary felt cap once called a "Clara Bow Hat"
Clara Bow Hat - Similar to what I'm wearing in the photo above was once called the Clara Bow Hat - "Designed for and Posed by the Famous Paramount Picture Star".  During the Roaring 20's, these wool felt hats were tricked out with grosgrain ribbon, flowers, buckles, bows and ostrich feathers. Listed in the Sears Roebuck and Co. catalog for about $2.25!
Historically fashionable, Decades of Hats is gorgeous and shows nothing is new under the sun. See more titles at

Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Larry Edwards
80 authentic recipes from the more upper crust Edwardian kitchens. Recipes for your High Tea, savory delicacies such as Baked Stuffed Mushrooms and dinner ideas. Really everything from soup to nuts! My family has roots in the British Isles (Scotland included) and many of the recipes are quite familiar such as Queen Victoria Rice Pudding. Very similar to my Grandmother's recipe! If you are even remotely English, these recipes will sound very familiar and like true British cuisine, require a limited amount of simple ingredients. Huzzah!

Edwardian Cooking offers a rare glimpse into the cooking styles and tastes of the Downton Abbey era, (1901-1919) when there was a fork and utensil for everything...pickle fork, herring tongs, oyster dish. Still the book offers contemporary and much less fussy cooking instructions. I have antique cookbooks from that era and they are so convoluted and difficult to follow. Not so with this cookbook. Now I may not agree with the olive oil in the Abbey Banana Walnut Bread recipe but it's not hard to swap out ingredients that you prefer or have available. Elegant Edwardian Meals in 168 easy to follow pages. Available online from Arcade Publishing.

Downton Abbey buttery Dinner Biscuits
Books c/o Schiffer and Arcade Publishing respectively.

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