HOT NEW BOOK ALERT: The Mechanical Smile by Caroline Evans, about the first fashion shows

I’ve just got my copy of The Mechanical Smile, the new book by Caroline Evans about the first fashion shows.

It looks amazing.


It’s quite a meaty read.


In the book, Evans argues for a broadening of the idea of modernism beyond just art and design.

That we should involve fashion shows within our idea of early 20th century modernism.

(I’m taking this from the description on the jacket – I’ve not had a chance to read it yet).

Beyond modernism, I’m super interested to read about the origins of shows, which many assume to have been around forever.

The way fashion, same as cinema, loves words such as “legendary” or “iconic” or “forever”, as if these things had been going on longer than what’s really a blink of an eye.

Knowing the past of fashion shows will hopefully say something about the relevance or otherwise in the future.

Here’s some of the pages inside.


It’s a piece from Vanity Fair, December 1915.

A close-up of those words.


Some models from the mid-1910s.


A beyond jolly page from the Chicago Daily Tribune…


A fashion show on the Cunard liner Franconia during Liverpool Civic Week in 1925.

(That’s the shadow of a tree, by the way)


It’s super jolly!

Can’t wait to read it.

The book’s published by Yale University Press, I ordered mine through the Broadway Market bookshop, ordered it Saturday, it arrived yesterday… Much jollier than Amazon… Click here etcetcetc