Book Recommendation: Lepage-Medvey’s Costume Books

Seems to me having a blog is free rein to ramble, rant, and share with the world whatever one wants to share.

In that spirit, I offer this tidbit.

I am fascinated with native and regional costumes from around the world. I trace this enthusiasm back to three influences: 1. my childhood bedspread, which was covered with drawings of girls in international costumes, 2. my admiration as a child for Madame Alexander dolls, some of which came decked out in the costumes of various lands, and 3. some wonderful paperdolls my mother owned as a child, again of girls in costumes from all over the place. I think the paper dolls were from Hallmark, actually, and they would’ve been published in the forties or so. They opened up like cards, and inside was a story about the doll. I think. My sister could tell us, she has the paperdolls now.

Actually, come to think of it, there was overlap in the themes of the Alexander dolls and the Hallmark paper dolls. Both had dolls with the national costume thing going on, plus dolls representing characters from movies like “Little Women.” But I ramble.

On to the book recommendation.

The photo above shows a plate from one of my favorite books, National Costumes…Austria Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia. I also own French Costumes, which is illustrated by the same artist, E. Lepage-Medvey. Each costume featured in both books gets this huge full-page spread and the colors are delicious and punchy.

You can buy them secondhand (I have good results for older books using or request them via interlibrary loan through your local library. Or ask me if you can come to tea at my house and I’ll show them to you.


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