First off, let’s discuss the book from the point of view of its sublime physical presence. Dior Couture is extra large in size, the paper stock is heavy enough to be confused with lightweight cardboard, the reproduction quality of the photography is beyond first rate, and the subject matter? Well, it doesn’t get much better.
Kudos to Patrick Demarchelier for his “eye,” for his understanding of the couture, to Carine Roitfeld for conjuring such incredible assemblages of these creations, and most of all to Rizzoli for issuing such a truly exquisite paean to Christian Dior haute couture.
There are a few ingredients that are missing and make this homage slightly less than 100% perfection. First, one is disappointed that there is not more original Dior; then that there is a shortage of Marc Bohan’s Dior since he put his stamp on the house for decades; third, the complete omission of Gianfranco Ferre’s brief stay at Dior is odd; lastly, the book is really mostly focused on John Galliano and his tenure at the revered house of Dior.
Shortcomings aside, there is no question that this is a book to be coveted and treasured. Mr. Demarchelier shows us the true talents of the Dior ateliers which are rivaled only by those of Chanel, the extraordinary talents of Mr. Galliano, and the seamless and timeless designs of the fabled house itself. The images are arresting because Mr. Demarchelier never sacrifices the clothing for the sake of artistic photography; the clothes are front and center in every photograph, making the overall presentation flawless.
The brief text by Ms. Sischy is a crash course in Dior that proves alternately enlightening and amusing. The very short foreword by Jeff Koons was incisive, containing a couple of very astute comparisons and observations.
All in all this is a book that can be compared to Andrew Bolton’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by any standard you choose. To say that Dior Couture would make a memorable gift for anyone with the slightest appreciation for the couture, Galliano, Dior, or fashion, would be dreadful understatement. Books such as this are rare and should be considered a must for any fashion library and certainly for anyone with a serious interest in fashion as an art form.