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Review: Dreaming of Dior

July 29, 2010

Charlotte Smith inherited a collection of beautiful vintage clothing from her godmother, Doris Darnell.  Her godmother collected not only the clothing but the stories of the people who wore them.  At first, Charlotte was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do with all of the clothing (over 3,000 pieces), but once she read the stories, she knew she had to share the collection somehow.  She couldn’t bear the thought of it being broken up, so she didn’t want to donate it to museums.  Luckily for us, she has created a beautiful book.

Dreaming of Dior by Charlotte Smith is an absolutely gorgeous book  – from the flocked dust jacket to the beautiful endpapers to the heavy weight paper to the stunning illustrations.  Because of the high quality paper used, this book has some heft to it.  After a short introduction, approximately 140 items of the collection are shown off in the pages of the book.  The left hand page tells a story about someone who wore the dress and the right hand page features a frame-worthy illustration by Grant Cowan.  These garments date from the 1800s to the modern day. The stories tell about the person who wore them and when I read them, I felt like I was living vicariously through them.  I particularly enjoyed the stories that featured the author or her family.

I’ve never been much of a “girly-girl,” but I adored this fabulous book!   First of all, the illustrations are just amazing – bright and vibrant on vivid backgrounds – and they were so much fun to study.  It’s hard for me to describe just how beautiful they are.  The stories are wonderful too – they made me dream of times past.  I’m sure I’ll continue to flip through this book for years!  This is a must have for every fashion lover out there.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


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58 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 5:11 am

    the illustrations are lovely….would not be too great in an B&W e-book.

  2. July 29, 2010 6:13 am

    This looks like a beautiful book!

  3. July 29, 2010 6:59 am

    What a lovely book. I have a daughter who’d love this!

  4. July 29, 2010 7:19 am

    I have a girly-girly friend whos is turning 50 in September. I think I just found the perfect gift. Thanks for the review.

  5. Malena permalink
    July 29, 2010 7:32 am

    Love. Must. Have.

  6. July 29, 2010 7:45 am

    Wow, this looks fantastic, Kathy! I love the stories behind “things” … this looks like a labor of love; what a way to preserve those stories.

  7. July 29, 2010 7:53 am

    At first glance, I thought this wasn’t my cup of tea. But it actually looks gorgeous and sounds very interesting. Thanks for changing my mind.

  8. July 29, 2010 8:01 am

    Wow! I think this book looks not only gorgeous but very interesting. What a unique idea!

  9. July 29, 2010 8:26 am

    Really lovely! Can you imagine inheriting 3,000 pieces of anything! Oh my!

  10. July 29, 2010 8:32 am

    I hope my library obtains this book. I would love to look at it, but not sure that it is one that I feel the need to own.

  11. July 29, 2010 9:05 am

    I actually can’t remember the last time I wore a DRESS! But this book looks fabulous, and what a great idea to convert her collection into something that everyone can enjoy.

  12. July 29, 2010 9:27 am

    This sounds (and looks) like an absolute work of art.

  13. July 29, 2010 9:40 am

    This sounds great! I hadn’t heard of this one, so I’m glad you reviewed it.

  14. July 29, 2010 10:00 am

    Isn’t it funny how many women now don’t even own a dress? I still love to wear skirts and dresses; maybe it’s an age thing. I’m not a lace and ruffles sort of woman though, classic is my style. Seeing this book makes me sort of nostalgic for the old days when women really dressed up for everything from church to a night out.

  15. July 29, 2010 10:18 am

    This book sounds beautiful! I love the picture you included with your review and think that this sounds like a book that I would love to browse through! Thanks for the great review!

  16. July 29, 2010 10:30 am

    Thanks for pointing this book out! It looks amazing. I have a cousin that just finishing studying fashion design and is looking to work in the industry. I’m going to get this book for her.

  17. July 29, 2010 11:09 am

    It looks like a fabulous book – thanks for sharing! 🙂

  18. July 29, 2010 11:11 am

    3,000 pieces of Dior sounds like a fantasy wish come true. What a cool book! This also looks like a neat book to give as a gift to a fashionista!

  19. July 29, 2010 11:12 am

    Oh i dream of Dior all the time : ). Great review Kathy!

  20. July 29, 2010 11:21 am

    I love the idea of this book. Thanks for the suggestion!

  21. July 29, 2010 12:05 pm

    Oh wow that is a must have, gorgeous i’m sure. Who doesn’t love Dior, I love the purses.

  22. July 29, 2010 12:16 pm

    This is a gorgeous book, Kathy. What artistry! I could see this book out in a large vanity or elsewhere. It’s simply stunning.

  23. July 29, 2010 12:19 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful book. I could definitely lose myself in those pages. I love browsing through fashion of any kind.

  24. July 29, 2010 12:27 pm

    Oh I would love this! When I was little my favorite book was The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but it was my favorite because of their dresses! I have to get this book!

  25. July 29, 2010 1:52 pm

    Sounds wonderful. I can’t say that I follow most fashion trends, but I do love looking at high fashion..there’s just something about. Plus, I like looking at fashion from the past too. I’m definitely putting this one on my wish list.

  26. July 29, 2010 2:05 pm

    I’ve always been such a tomboy-type, but for some reason, I’ve also always loved classic fashion illustrations. Go figure!

  27. July 29, 2010 2:08 pm

    This one sure sounds good! I’m not a girly-girl either since I’m not built like one, but I love reading about such girls – kind of like vicariously living through them. This will be a perfect read!

  28. July 29, 2010 3:16 pm

    It looks beautiful…magazine like with grown up paper dolls.

  29. July 29, 2010 3:47 pm

    The illustrations alone make me want this!

  30. July 29, 2010 4:46 pm

    This wasn’t at all what I expected when I saw the title – I thought it was going to be a chick-lit book. It looks completely fantastic though! I love that there are stories with each illustration.

  31. Kathleen permalink
    July 29, 2010 4:58 pm

    This book looks lovely. Just the one page you showed is wonderful.

  32. July 29, 2010 5:13 pm

    One of my earlier career ambitions was fashion illustration. I never went anywhere with it, but I still like to sketch clothing and hairstyles :-). This book sounds – and looks – wonderful!

  33. July 29, 2010 6:06 pm

    Wow! This is the kind of book I just love. It sounds beautiful.

  34. July 29, 2010 6:31 pm

    What an original book! This would make a wonderful gift for my sister who loves fashion. Sounds like it would also be a good coffee table book.

  35. July 29, 2010 9:12 pm

    I’m a humungous fan of the days when women (and men for that matter) dressed up and cared about what they look like when the went out in public. Sounds like a fantastic book.

  36. July 29, 2010 9:50 pm

    Great coffee-table book. Sounds like there are a lot of great stories. Congrats on your win over at Nicole’s. Have a great weekend.

  37. July 29, 2010 10:40 pm

    I’m always envious of people who can draw so well, or sing. Readin a book called “Almost French,” and there’s a chapter about an Australian journalist who attends her first “haute couture” show and has to write about it.

  38. July 29, 2010 11:47 pm

    Every now and then my girly girl comes out. I love that dress in the spread.

  39. July 29, 2010 11:50 pm

    i would love to have this book– such a great piece of art in my living room! what a wonderful tribute to charlotte’s aunt–sharing the collection with so many in such a clever fashion (pun intended!). 🙂

  40. July 30, 2010 12:02 am

    This book looks so beautiful! My dream coffee table book 🙂

  41. July 30, 2010 2:54 am

    I would do anything to get my hands on this one. It is beautiful from what little I see of it.

  42. July 30, 2010 11:36 am

    This sounds lovely! 😀

  43. July 30, 2010 1:06 pm

    What an unusual but amazing inheritance. I’m going to see if I can find this book. I’d love to read and see it.

  44. July 30, 2010 1:47 pm

    What a fantastic idea. I would have never guessed this what this book is about. It looks gorgeous and the stories with the dresses….I’ll be looking for this one. Thanks Kathy 🙂

  45. July 30, 2010 4:45 pm

    Loved the cover and this would be the perfect gift for my niece. She’s all of 5 months but I could keep it for her until she’s old enough to appreciate it. OK OK I admit it… It’s for me 😉

  46. July 30, 2010 5:22 pm

    I want that book! It is going on my Christmas list right now.

    Thanks for stopping by Rose City Reader today.

  47. July 30, 2010 5:44 pm

    While I’m not into fashion at all, I find myself thinking that I MUST get this book! I’m just fascinated by it!

  48. July 30, 2010 11:53 pm

    What a unique and interesting book! I have to admit that when I saw the title I thought it was a chick lit book ala Devil Wears Prada, but this looks like it could even make a nice coffee table edition for the eclectic home.

  49. July 31, 2010 7:24 am

    Wow. I am not a girly girl either but I love this book. I had not heard of it until I saw your review (or I don’t remember it). Now I really want to spend some time looking through it.

  50. July 31, 2010 9:01 pm

    Oh there it is! reading your review makes me want to take my copy off the shelf and look through it again! 🙂

  51. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 1, 2010 1:34 am

    I’m addicted to Project Runway and bet I’d love this book too.

  52. August 1, 2010 1:34 am

    I majored in fashion merchandising in college–this sounds like a book a girl like me must have!

  53. August 1, 2010 3:34 am

    Just how beautiful the physically the book is makes me want to steal it from you! I don’t even know if I will ever find it here but I’ll keep my eyes open.

  54. stilettostorytime permalink
    August 1, 2010 11:21 am

    I love…I covet..I must have it!

  55. August 1, 2010 4:59 pm

    I love books like this though I’ve never been all that interested in fashion. Lovely photos!

  56. August 2, 2010 9:04 pm

    I absolutely agree. This was such a wonderful book. I loved imagining what I would do if I were able to wear any of these fabulous dresses (or dresses like them).

  57. August 4, 2010 3:59 pm

    Wow, this looks fabulous! I’m sure I’d be wiping my drool from the gorgeous pages. I’ve gotten more and more into fashion as I’ve gotten older, though I still have a long way to go! 🙂

  58. Valerie permalink
    August 5, 2010 9:52 pm

    I’d love to look at this one. I wouldn’t call myself the height of fashion, but am fascinated by the history of fashion and how styles evolve over hundreds of years. This would be a great addition to the books I have on the subject!

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