I’m always hesitant about one-topic fashion books, especially when written by someone who was involved professionally with the subject. Seems like you either get an emotional homage or an insider-tell-all. In this case, the insider is Sinty Stemp, who was Jean Muir’s personal assistant, and who is still employeed at Jean Muir, Ltd. She has managed to honor Ms. Muir without being overly sentimental, and at the same time, she gives us a wonderfully detailed look inside the design house that made simplicity chic.
The book is beautifully illustrated, not just with fashion shots, but also with sketches, personal photos, newspaper clippings and magazine pages. There are photos from all the decades of her career, and it makes clear not only the progression of ideas, but also the themes and fabrics to which Muir turned to again and again.
One of the things that impressed me most about Muir is how much color she used. I have a vision of the arch-typical Muir frock as being a dark wool jersey, close-fitting dress. And while it is true that she was a master of the little black dress, after spending some time with this book, I saw what a great colorist she was.
Read Jean Muir: Beyond Fashion, and gain a greater appreciation for this woman who knew what women wanted, and then gave it to them.