Saturday, March 12, 2011

BookVu: Fifty Dresses that Changed the World

The Design Museum
Publisher: Conran Octopus Ltd, London 
106 pages

Go ahead—judge this book by its cover. The color, the font, the title, the simplicity, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s wonderment of it all. 

Put Katherine Hepburn in a tiara on a striking mustard background and who wouldn’t judge?

This book is delicious. It beautifully outlines 50 dresses that made a “substantial impact in the world of design.” And it does this well. The people at Design Museum know their stuff and readers are bound to learn a thing or two (unless you’re a costume historian or professional Dressologist).

We’re not talking universe-altering-atom-splitting-curing-hunger-world-peacifying stuff, we’re talking dresses. 

But they are amazing dresses that created long-standing trends in women’s fashion. The 50 Fabulous Frocks reflected the politics of the day and put designers on the map. You will likely guess a couple of the creations that make the cut, but you may be surprised by others. I think Betsey Johnson is notably and unforgivably absent, but nobody asked me...

Zandra Rhodes. Photo:
Design Museum gives a short explanation for each selection. But it’s a somewhat text-booky read.  I wish they would’ve hired a writer to snazzify the copy to suit the beauty of the dresses and photos. But all is forgiven, Design Museum.

Go forth, if you love fashion, art, design, style, picture books, or mini coffee table books, it’s a very pretty text book. It’s worth spending the $$$ if in the industry or a crazy hobbyist. Otherwise, a quick flip through will do the job nicely.

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