No one interested in the history of dress, from art historians to stage designers, from museum curators to teachers of fashion and costume, can function effectively without Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion series, published by Macmillan since 1964. Since her untimely death in 1998, admirers of her work have been waiting, with increasing impatience, for the promised volume devoted to the linen clothes of the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods, a companion to her previous volume on tailored clothes of the same era. Planned and partly prepared by Janet herself, and completed by Jenny Tiramani, Janet's last pupil, no other book exists that is dedicated to the linen clothes that covered the body from the skin outwards. It contains full colour portraits and photographs of details of garments in the explanatory section as well as patterns for 86 items of linen clothing which range from men's shirts and women's smocks, from superb ruffs and collars to boot hose and children's stomachers. Beautifully produced, it is an invaluable guide to both the history and the recreation of these wonderful garments.
Janet Arnold was a historian of fashion, which combined her two greatest passions: the theatre and clothes. Her early books were conceived as aids for the fashion and theatre students she taught, but as her unique range and depth of knowledge became apparent, more and more museums and other institutions sought her advice and, today, her books are essential tools for the study of dress and have been used throughout the world. Jenny Tiramani was Janet's last pupil and during the first ten years of Shakespeare's Globe she worked with Janet's published patterns to realize accurate copies of the original garments and their accessories. Santina Levey is Janet Arnold's Literary Executor and a historian of fashion.