The Concise Dictionary of Dress

Judith Clark, Adam Phillips
Photography by Norbert Schoerner

This book examines the nature of dictionaries, archives and dress curation, and adds a stunning visual essay recording two overnight tours through an Artangel-commissioned exhibition at Blythe House.

Phillips’ definitions for words commonly associated with fashion and appearance were paired with eleven stations created by Clark on a walk through this vast building, home of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s archive. Here in print, extending beyond the works at Blythe House, Phillips adds more words, more definitions and an overarching essay asking broader questions about what dictionaries are, how we use them and why they matter. Judith Clark also presents a written analysis of the Dictionary in her response to questions posed anonymously by authorities in cultural theory, fashion history, arts curation and architecture, as well as a catalogue of references used in creating the installations.