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Christopher Breward & James Brook

Christopher Breward is a widely published historian of fashion, interested in its relationship to social and sexual identity, place and concepts of modernity. Born in Bristol in 1965, he took degrees at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Royal College of Art. He has worked as a lecturer in the History of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Royal College of Art and London College of Fashion and is currently Acting Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He holds Honorary Visiting Professorships at the University of the Arts London, Kingston University and the University of Lincoln. Breward sits on the editorial / advisory boards of the journals Fashion Theory, Journal of Design History, Journal of Visual Culture in Britain and The Happy Hypocrite.

Selected Bibliography: The Culture of Fashion (Manchester University Press, 1995), The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, fashion and city life (Manchester University Press, 1999), Fashion (Oxford University Press, 2003), Fashioning London: Clothing and the Modern Metropolis (Berg, 2004)

James Brook is an artist and graphic designer, based in Edinburgh, specialising in book design and typography. He has an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. He maintains his own studio practice and has worked extensively in contemporary arts publishing. He also makes electronic music. As a graphic designer with a background in fine art, he is interested in the crossovers between fine art and graphic design practices. He has a particular knowledge of specialist artist's publishing and he is experienced in facilitating artist's ideas within the format of the book. His MA major project largely concentrated on book typography, using extensive research into cook books and the form of the recipe as a starting point to explore the function and functionality of typography and its relationship to a specific audience. His works often combine text with image, examining the slippages of meaning that occur between language and visual communication. A constant preoccupation is the mechanics of seeing and recognition: how images are ‘read’, meanings understood and how the conventions of painting – mark-making and perspective – allow a flat surface to be experienced in three dimensions. Essentially, all of his practice is collage: melding together seemingly disparate fragments from the history of painting; from graphic design and architecture; and from popular culture. This intuitive combining of diverse elements show how creative play can feed the imagination, giving the mind a space in which to soar. As a non-musician, he makes electronic music with these technologies. His ‘songs’ inform – and are informed by – his visual work: the coloured building blocks of musical notation in music-making software programs are echoed in the abstract constructions of his paintings and in the collage method by which they are created.


James Brook was joined in a civil partnership ceremony with Christopher Breward on 18 August 2006. Both wore lounge suits and open-necked shirts, but each chose a different designer to emphasise their individuality, James in Timothy Everest and Christopher in Jasper Conran. They donated the dresses at the Victorian & Albert Museum which exhibited them two times already: for "Unveiled: 200 years of wedding glamour from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 17/12/2011-22/04/2012)" and for "The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashions (Bendigo Art Gallery 01/08/2011-06/11/2011)".


A single breasted dark grey ground jacket and matching trousers which is flecked with small sky blue and white stitches giving the appearance of dots. A sky blue and white shirt completes the outfit.
The jacket has a flat collar and revers extending to a single button fastening centre front. There are flapped pockets at hip level that extend to the side seam. A welted pocket is found on the LH breast along with two vertical seams. There is padding at the shoulder seam, the sleeves are cut on the circular and have four black plastic buttons at the cuff. The rear of the jacket is constructed from two vertical panels with a seam running down the CB. The lower part of the jacket opens out to a flap. The jacket is lined with sky blue silk, cut in a curvilinear pattern with white piping.
The trousers have have inset pockets at the side seams. There is a zipper fly and waist tab with two hook and eyes and an inner button of black mother of pearl. There are three mother of pearl buttons on both the RH and LH side seams of the waistband. The button to the rear of the waistband is attached to a semi-circular tab.
The sky blue and white shirt fastens with six cream mother of pearl buttons. It has a collar and plackets from each single-button cuff.
The suit, which is from Kilgour's ready to wear range, was purchased in the Kilgour shop on Savile Row, London.



A dark grey ground with blue, wool-blend pinstripe suit comprising jacket and trousers, complete with cotton shirt. The jacket has artificial finished pockets at hip level that extend just past the side seam to the rear of the jacket. The collared jacket has revers; on the LH rever there is a buttonhole. The revers extend down the CF to two black button fastenings. There is a welted pocket on the LH breast. The shoulder seam is padded, giving fullness to this area and there are four black plastic buttons on the cuffs. The back of the jacket is constructed from two vertical panels with a vertical seam running down the CB. The lower part opens out into a flap. The jacket is lined with a navy blue blend of viscose and acetate. It has a white piping with a blue and black diagonal stripe. There are two inner pockets on the LH side and one inner pocket on the RH side.
The trousers have a waistband with seven belt loops. Fly zipper, with hook and eye fastening and inner button. The trousers have a pleat at the CF and two pockets at the side seams. The back of the trousers has two darts extending to an artificial welted pocket. Viscose lining.
The white cotton twill shirt has blue and red vertical stripes. Collar extends to six mother of pearl buttons at the CF. Cuffs have an opening for a cufflink fastening. The back of the shirt has a small yoke.
Man's suit ensemble, two-piece suit, Timothy Everest for Marks & Spence, TM Lewin shirt, 2006


Further Readings:

Fashion (Oxford History of Art) by Christopher Breward
Series: Oxford History of Art
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (June 26, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0192840304
ISBN-13: 978-0192840301
Amazon: Fashion (Oxford History of Art)
Amazon Kindle: Fashion (Oxford History of Art)

Following 150 years of fashion, Christopher Breward offers a catholic view of this colorful and flamboyant universe, describing its trends, products, and inhabitants. From Haute Couture, High Street, and developing fabric technology to such stars of the fashion heavens as Coco Chanel, Giorgio Armani, and Alexander McQueen, Breward explores territories far beyond style and function. He sees more than just an industry, giving voice to the larger cultural phenomenon fashion has become.

Breward's discerning view captures the glamorous world of Vogue and advertising; the relationship between fashion and film, and fashion as a business; and goes beyond the surface to consider individual interaction with fashion. How have ideas about hygiene and comfort influenced the direction of style? How does dress create identity and status? Framing details of dandies, flappers, and punks within a clear overview of their respective periods, Breward takes a second look and casts everyday wear in a much different light.

In addition to all the glitz and glamour, the book includes suggestions for further reading, a timeline marking important events in fashion, and a list of relevant museums and galleries. In all, it is the most valuable, accessible, and modern text on fashion today.

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