Dior Scarves: Fashion Stories

Image of Dior Scarves. Fashion Stories.
Release Date: 
May 21, 2024
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

“anyone with a passion for scarves might find it a lovely gift and charming reference.”

As one of the most profitable fashion houses of the past few years, it seems only natural that Dior would release yet another book within its library (a collection that already exceeds 30 volumes). Dior Scarves: Fashion Stories. quite obviously focuses on the company’s foulard output from the 1940s to the present day.

The early pages are akin to standard advertising photoshoots, with models editorially demonstrating the myriad ways one can wear a silk scarf (many of which, including “as a blindfold,” are a touch silly). These images, however, do serve to showcase the whimsy and glorious designs of many of Dior’s more recent scarves.

With the exception of the essays by Claire Allen-Johnstone that detail the history of the scarf and a final, though too brief, piece by Elda Danese on how these scarves are manufactured, the other authors’ contributions don’t do much to contextualize the visual content—it’s a lot of filler text, but with coffee table books like these, is anyone ever really reading the essays?

The true usefulness of the book does not begin until page 92, when the reader is presented with hundreds of full-page reproductions of scarves throughout the decades. Presented by category (or, as the book refers to it, as “an atlas”) rather than chronology, the arrangements encourage dialogues across time and lead designers. A particular revelation is the section dedicated to optical effects—perhaps not a style of scarf one naturally associates with Dior, but which is strikingly modern. Many of these individual images are accompanied by brief descriptions of their history or importance, which is digestible and fun for the true fashion lover.

As an object, it seems as if the physicality of the book is meant to reflect its subject. The realities of those choices, however, might not be seen as beneficial to some readers. Entering the ring at a whopping 760 pages, this is no featherweight tome but a serious compendium, so the fact that it was produced as a softcover volume almost makes it feel as if one is handling a proof rather than the finished product. It is a bit awkward to handle and flops rather dramatically in hand.

The cover also feels like a printing proof, complete with slightly sloppy stress marks where the dust jacket has been wrapped around the paper cover, no thicker than a manilla envelope. Unfolding it, however, reveals a glossy to-scale reproduction of the brand’s 2021 Zodiac scarf, also proudly displayed in the cover photograph by a somewhat maudlin model. It’s a fun Easter egg, and certainly a nice touch for those who can’t afford an actual Dior scarf (although, at just under $100, this book is not a casual purchase).

The paper choice for the pages is where the book falls a bit flat. No thicker than tissue paper, each page is butterfly wing delicate and creases even with the gentlest of touches. One turn of the page and evidence of the human hand is distractingly present and irreversible. The lack of luminosity of the paper also leads to all of the images looking rather muted and dim—a shame given the luster of the actual silk with which these scarves are made.

Overall, it is a perfectly interesting but impractically built book—but anyone with a passion for scarves might find it a lovely gift and charming reference.