My Favourite Dress

Image of My Favourite Dress
Release Date: 
December 16, 2009
Antique Collectors Club Dist
Reviewed by: 

From the title of the book, one might think that this will be some sappy tale or series of tales about some ladies and what their favorite dresses mean to them. That is certainly not what you get. Instead, the book has asked some 80 designers, fashion journalists, and style icons the question: “What is your favorite dress?”

The three authors have compiled a selection that ranges from Mary Quant to Thierry Mugler, from Glenda Bailey to Suzy Menkes, and from Stella McCartney to Zandra Rhodes. We are given a glimpse into the inspirations and emotions that are involved in designing the dress and the final product. One can only be surprised that some examine it clinically, some very personally, and some quite commercially.

“Anyone who has bought a dress with wild passion and seen
that emotion continue to flow each time it is worn, will
understand the warmth with which so many fashion
enthusiasts have contributed to this exceptional book.”
                                                                       —Suzy Menkes

Whether you look at it from a creative standpoint, purely aesthetic view, or from even a retail view, you will find the pages filled with engaging quotes and also life-long inspirations. The aficionado of fashion will believe him- or herself privy to someone else’s diary.

“These types of clothes have evolved beyond mere
function and are worn for reasons of desire,
psychological protection and for the reinvention
of the outward impression.”
                                                    —Hamish Morrow

This is far more than just a pretty picture book; it gives you a “raison d’être” from some and from others just a pure take on beauty or the definition of the epitome of a signature design from a particular designer. The book should be looked at, then read, then reread to find why each dress is a “favorite dress.”

My one criticism of the book, which is very minor, is that I wished some of the interviewees did not offer us such airbrushed idealized portraits of themselves; but like one said, it matters very little to the overall experience of reading this beautiful collection of masters of their trades.

If you want to know my “favorite dress,” I would, without question, confess that the red and gold Gianfranco Ferre gown is a masterpiece on so many levels. Perhaps you will find yours within this worthy tome.

Reviewer Jeffrey Felner is a columnist in Woman 2 Woman Magazine: Fashion by the Rules, and continues a long and successful career in jewelry and fashion design and merchandising.