Free Book Downloads from the Met Museum

I found out about this via, who detailed 20 fashion books from the Met’s free downloads. Below I’ve selected a few textiles related books that I have chosen to download, followed by a list of fantastic fashion texts, most of which I own a hardcopy of. I’m fascinated by historical and cultural textiles and objet d’art, by the processes used, the aesthetics created and the function they hold, whether utilitarian and practical or symbolic, ritualistic and sacred.

The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design without End, LaGamma, A. and Giuntini, C. (2008). 


This gorgeous book about African textiles discusses artistic, aesthetic, functional and technical aspects of traditional textiles and contemporary developments. This book also contains an interesting discussion about Western interpretation of the value and meaning of African textiles, which see textiles, in parallel with the contemporary UK art world, assigned a lower status than, for example, sculpture. Textiles in Africa continues to be a “vital creative activity”, offering “insights into the true pace of artistic change across this region of the world”.

Early Indonesian Textiles from Three Island Cultures, Hologram, R. and Spertus, A. (1989). 


Beyond the function and aesthetic, it is the sacred and symbolic role of textiles in Indonesian culture that makes them so fascinating. In this book, the authors discuss the history of three island cultures through textile artefacts.

Andean Four-Cornered Hats, Ancient Volumes, Jone, J. (1990)


A particularly niche subject but a constructed textiles enthusiast will enjoy the structures used to create the hats.

There are also some texts that have accompanied the Met’s fantastic fashion exhibitons:

Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed, Koda, H. (2001)


Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Bolton, A. (2011)


Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion, Bolton, A. (2006)


Infra-Apparel, Martin, R. and Koda, H. (1993)


Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress, Martin, R. and Koda, H. (1994)




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