A HISTORY OF FASHION, by J. Anderson Black and Madge Garland, updated and revised by Frances Kennett. (Morrow, $35). Those lucky enough to receive this book as a gift will get not only 4,000 years of fashion history (up through the 1970s), but a rich collection of fine art, since that is what the authors have chosen as the primary means of illustration. As you follow the rise and fall of hemlines and the long and the short of mens's haircuts through the ages, you'll see how men and women have tried to accentuate and cover up parts of their bodies to achieve the fantasized, idealized look of their time. Here you can also find instructions on how to make a ruff and the mysteries of the inner construction of ladies bustles, hoop skirts and farthingales. There's a good glossary of fashion terms, to look up what farthingales and such really are, since they and things like bloomers and leg-o'mutton sleeves are being revived by contemporary fashion designers. MARIANO FORTUNY: His Life and Work, by Guillermo de Osma (Rizzoli, $29.95). For the friend who is mad about Fortuny but too impoverished to own an original Fortuny dress (current market price $500-$2000), this is at least a beautiful consolation. The book explores the life of the creative genius Mariano Fortuny, who died in 1949 but whose brilliant fabrics and pleated silk gowns, inspired by Greek sculpture, are coveted by museums and collectors. The book depicts this Renaissance man and all his talents -- his start as a painter, and his later work in set design, lighting fixture design, photography and in fashion and textiles. The splendor of Fortuny is displayed in photographs of his inventions, his work space in his Venetian palazzo (now a museum) and his textile designs and dresses, now owned and still worn by some of the richest and most fashionable women in the world.