Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Image of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Release Date: 
September 20, 2021
Rizzoli Electa
Reviewed by: 

The prospective reader might be led astray by the title of the book thinking that this is a catalog or the reprise presentation of Dior’s retrospective that took place at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs four years ago. This retrospective will take place at the Brooklyn Museum in September of 2021 and will run through February of 2022.

These two retrospectives share one commonality, and that is Christian Dior and the world that he created bearing his name. This version contains much more detailed information that was not exposed in the first telling, which is why the reader must read the text rather than think this is just one more glorious coffee table book featuring the creations of Maison Dior designed by all who held the reins since day one. The pre LVMH days were in many ways orchestrated by the savviest of businesspersons and advisors as well as Monsieur Dior. The business acumen you will read about is quite brilliant as it turned out to be a blueprint for the world of fashion in the years that followed.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ biggest departure from what a reader might be expecting is the visual aspect of this tome. The cubist-like photo images are explained by the photographer Katherine Jebb, forcing us to wonder if this book is about photography or about the oeuvre of Maison Dior. Jebb's methodology is explained in a rather confusing chapter that suddenly leaves us pondering if this book is more about her interpretation of fashion photography than about the fashion of Dior. While on the subject of images we, as readers of this genre, have come to expect some sort of visual excitement—especially when viewing the artistry that is associated with Maison Dior and haute couture. Alas, that excitement never comes to fruition when garments are photographed flat rather on a mannequin or on a model, which would give life to the garment.

One must ponder whether or not one needs to see the exhibit before reading this chronicle or accept this retrospective in print as an alternative way of seeing and appreciating the works of Maison Dior.