Some 150 pieces, from the tropics to the Arctic circle, from the plains of India to the mountains of Montenegro, have been chosen to illustrate how different cultures create their regional and national costume. The garments range from the ceremonial to the everyday, and display a breathtaking richness of detail: rows of ornamental buttons, embroidered patterns, intricate pleating and stitching, flamboyant fringes and tassels that define and decorate at one and the same time. Featuring specially commissioned photographs and line drawings that demonstrate the underlying structure of each garment, the book is arranged thematically, drawing together examples of each type of detail and decoration from disparate cultures. Details of fastenings, necklines, cuffs, hemlines and fringes contribute to a wide-ranging survey which is both a visual feast of textures, patterns and craftsmanship, and a serious contribution to the interpretation of dress. The text is packed with information about the garments, the ways they were worn and how they were made. The result is a stunningly beautiful book that provides a unique glimpse into the V&A's world-famous dress collections, and opens our eyes to the variety and creativity of dress around the world.