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Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa [Hardcover]

Hans Silvester
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Feb 2008
Over the course of numerous voyages to the wilds of Africaâs Omo Valley, Hans Silvester became fascinated by the beauty of the Surma, Mursi, Hamer and Kurma tribes, who share a taste for body painting and extravagant decorations borrowed from nature. For these people, flesh becomes a raw material on which wonderfully inventive decorative fantasties can be played out. Hans Silvesterâs astonishing photographs capture these accoutrements to form a parade of African fashion that is as rich as it is ephemeral. This book is an elegy to nature, revealed by the Omo people in all its beauty and extravagance.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (18 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500543585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500543580
  • Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 25.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 943,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'...beautiful portraits that not only capture the art of body painting and head decoration, but also give us a glimpse of each tribe's lifestyle.' -- Amateur Photgrapher

'I was amazed, gobsmacked at how chic their creations looked-completely elegant-with a fine sense of balance and proportion'
-- Stephen Jones, Milliner

'Put the most outlandish creations of Western catwalk couturiers to shame... this is truly an African fashion parade like no other'
-- Daily Mail

'Startling pictures capture not war and strife but the spellbinding beauty of the tribes' ornamentation' -- The Daily Telegraph


`A stunningly beautiful African fashion parade'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VISUALLY STUNNING 10 April 2008
I have just received this book today and as soon as I opened it I was mesmerized. As a fashion design student I am constantly looking for inspiration, I have finally found a book that offers extraordinary, beautifully detailed photographs that would grace any Theme or Colour board. The devil is in the detail as they say, and this book certainly gives you plenty of that. The photography is superb and from a design point of view it conjures up hundreds of ideas for my fashion design work. There are very few words in this book and as such relies heavily on the visual elements of the tribal decoration, therefore, if you are after a book which offers explanations of each picture, this is not the one for you. Having said that I really don't think this book needs words with photographs of such high standard, It is a stunning book and anyone buying it should love it because of it's simplicity and artistic eye. I highly recommend getting this book if you are any kind of designer or artist. This book does not give a true understanding of the tribes it has photographed, in fact in some instances you do feel that the photographer has stylized his subjects purely for art, but I don't care. I love this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hre now, but gone soon ? 26 July 2009
What a very wonderful book!
These photos depict some very original &spontaneous art,which makes a lot of western work look very laboured & trite!?
Ironically, the perpetrators rarely glimpse their own efforts,but rely on their peer groups for reaction.
Hours are spent decorating face & body, with river mud,& local vegetation, and when theyve finished,a cooling jump in the river washes it all off immediately .
Ironically, western camera clubs are already zooming in, and this book may be contributing to the demise of the tribes lifestyle !?
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As a make up artist, I have quite a few of these books for reference of tribal makeup designs. but this one has images that don't exist in other books I have. It is fantastic for fashion references. I would recommend this as one of my top four on Tribal fashion and makeup! If you want a good representation of tribal body art around the world and can afford it, buy Decorated Skin, Africa Adorned, people of Kau and this one. I know one makeup artist who bought "Natural Fashion" and immediately organised a shoot based on it which was published in Numero magazine. This is the kind of book which will be around for a few years and then become discontinued, so if you think you might need it, my advice is buy it, before you can't find it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential photography! 6 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book by Hans Silvester is truly breathtakingly beautiful and captures a way of living that may well soon be lost forever across the globe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisite Book 13 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book, it is really quite beautiful. How tribes use their natural environment
to decorate their faces & bodies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning ! 27 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have had an affinity for Africa since a group of orphans danced into my life and touched my heart back in 1996. They changed my life forever. I have visited their home of Uganda at least half a dozen times and enjoyed the people there so much but nothing prepares one for the beauty that is captured in this book. These people are the very epitome of what might be seen in the Garden of Eden if such a place existed. Their natural innocence is so charming and their resourcefulness in using whatever is at hand to adorn themselves is nothing short of genius. Our poor folk in the western world have to pay huge corporations big bucks to buy junk to stick on their faces and their bodies but these people really show us up as their adornments are soooo much more beautiful and cost absolutely nothing AND they don't damage the earth in any way. What a wonderful book !
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