18 June 2016


Scarves, by Nicky Albrechtsen and Fola Solanke, is a comprehensive guide to scarf designs of the twentieth century. More than 250 scarves are included, all photographed in colour, followed by biographies of fifty key scarf designers. The book itself is lavishly produced, with a padded satin cover.

Albrechtsen also wrote The Printed Square, about handkerchief designs, though Scarves is superior in many ways. Whereas The Printed Square (also published by Thames & Hudson) is a compact book, with examples from only four decades, the large-format Scarves covers the entire twentieth century. Unlike The Printed Square, each illustration in Scarves is dated and attributed, and each chapter begins with an introduction.

"Scarves are works of art in their own right," as the book clearly demonstrates. It features scarves from Europe, America, Asia, and Australia, in a wide variety of styles including abstract, geometric, figurative, and commemorative. The scarves are beautifully reproduced as vibrant, full-page illustrations.

Like handkerchiefs, scarves are a largely overlooked example of fashion accessories and printed textiles. The Scarf (1989), by Andrew Baseman, is the only previous guide to scarf designs. The early histories of scarves and handkerchiefs are summarised in Accessories Of Dress (1940), by Katherine Morris Lester and Bess Viola Oerke.