100 Unforgettable Dresses

Image of 100 Unforgettable Dresses
Release Date: 
October 24, 2011
Harper Design
Reviewed by: 

What is most appealing about this book is the omission of the word “most” in the title, for if it had been otherwise, there would have been serious issues to contend with when it came to the selection of dresses chosen for 100 Unforgettable Dresses.

The other very attractive fact about Mr. Rubenstein’s oeuvre is that you don’t have to be a fan of InStyle magazine to enjoy it. Though the author has been with the magazine since its inception 15 years ago, he treats the subject matter as pure entertainment, with witty—sometimes even snarky—remarks accompanying the wonderful photographs.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the 100 dresses certainly reflect a definite subjectivity, they also adeptly mirror our 20th century fascination with and fixation on celebrity culture.

The chronology starts in the 1920s, taking us right up to present day with Kate Middleton’s Alexander McQueen (Sarah Burton) 2011 wedding gown. The author offers up great tidbits of information about the famous Marilyn Monroe/JFK “birthday dress,” as well some construction secrets from some of the greatest couture and movie/TV costume designers.

Mr. Rubenstein, it seems, was determined to make 100 Unforgettable Dresses a very informative yet fun affair. He achieves this by including anecdotes from some of the designers as well as from a few of the women who have worn these unique dresses.

100 Unforgettable Dresses will be a great conversation piece for anyone who is interested in the hows and whys of celebrities’ selections of their red carpet garb or wedding dresses. Also, those who are intrigued by detailed information about how costumes were designed for certain sirens of the silver screen, such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Cate Blanchett, Jackie Kennedy, and her daughter in law Carolyn Bessette, to name just a few.

The best news of all is that 100 Unforgettable Dresses is a not a “break the bank” book requiring a line of credit or second mortgage—which is a great thing considering the holidays are just around the corner.