Sunday, April 7, 2013
Men In Style: The Golden Age of Fashion from Esquire
While Gruppo GFT's 3-volume Apparel Arts set is something of the white whale of rare books on men's style, Woody Hochswender's book, Men In Style - The Golden Age of Fashion from Esquire, is another pretty hard-to-find title. If not quite as Lochnessian as Gruppo's set.
While the set could probably still be considered good bang for your buck at $500-600 (although copies have been known to sell for upwards of $1200), in comparison Hochswender's book is not oversized, it reprints certain artwork in black and white rather than color, and it is not more than 150 pages. That being said, if original issues of Apparel Arts are out of your price range, or you're looking for something that focuses exclusively on the artwork of Fellows or Hurd, then Men In Style is a reasonable alternative.
Recent copies have been listed for sale on eBay in the $400-500 range, which just seems an exorbitant price to pay for what you're getting. I believe a used copy (in not great condition) sold on eBay recently for roughly $120, which is a more reasonable price, but still somewhat out of whack with the $90 that you'll be asked to pay at Strand's rare book department (or the $110 that store will charge for a signed copy) for a pristine copy. Of course, if you're willing to pay $200 or more for an original issue of Apparel Arts, then you might think $90 is too much for what this is. But to each his own.
There is one point that I was hoping to get some clarification on: is the text that accompanies each image also taken from the original Apparel Arts issue, or was that contributed by Hochswender? This was not entirely clear to me while reading.