“But Sarah Byrd, a fashion historian and instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, suspects that there wasn’t much of a real-world market for these clothes. The dress served a different purpose, she says, in ‘a moment of scientific explosion when it comes to synthetic fibers.’ Silk was luxurious and valuable, but expensive and susceptible to pests. Textile makers and the general public were eager for cheap, durable alternatives."
“At the time, Byrd says, fur was accessible to shoppers with a range of budgets. The 1918 Sears catalog peddled a child’s squirrel scarf-and-muff set for $9.95, and asked less for items made from goat hair. Rabbit fur—also known as ‘coney’—was another option for fur fanciers with tighter purse strings, and was sometimes gussied up to stand in for pricier varieties, advertised as ‘imitation ermine’ or even ‘imitation tiger.’ Shoppers with money to burn—people with ‘extreme wealth,’ Byrd says—could spring for a wrap made entirely from Russian sable.”
“Fashion historian and educator Sarah Byrd hesitates to impart too much power on singular fashion choices, such as choosing to wear a bell bottom pant. Even though clothing has a very physical effect (like I said, they take up space), Byrd explains that ‘many factors go into the things we wear at any given time as a consumer: what’s available, your cultural lens, how you feel that day. Like the people wearing the clothing, it’s a nuanced and complicated statement.’ ”
Horst P. Horst, Best Known for His Glamorous Fashion Photographs, Also Liked ‘A Little Mess’
BY ALAINA DEMOPOULOS
“A word like ‘timeless’ is hard to define clearly, but I think what it refers to in [Horst’s] case is a minimal ornamentation or decoration that stands out as unique to a set time period,” Sarah C. Byrd, a fashion historian and professor at FIT and NYU, told The Daily Beast. “The particulars of clothing, makeup, and hair recede into a silhouette that draws viewers into the photograph.”
Your dress's 'fake pockets' might actually be real — here's how to open them
BY JACOB SHAMSIAN
To Byrd, the sewn-in pocket is a "design memo" asking the wearer not to open it. She doesn't open them up, because that would "disrupt the silhouette" of the clothing as the designer intended it.
14 Iconic Luxury Handbags and the Stories Behind Them
BY KATHERINE GLEASON
Once, a single “It” handbag ruled each fashion season.
They are part of design history, so owning one has meaning. As New York–based fashion historian Sarah C. Byrd says, “You have made the choice to invest in this piece because you understand the value of it in the past and in the future to come.”