Tuesday, 14 December 2010

100 Dresses

I do whinge about my job a bit, but sometimes working in a bookshop is great. Especially when you get free books. Luckily everybody at work knows I'm obsessed with fashion history, so when we got a free copy of this book, they gave it to me!

It's a collection of one hundred beautifully photographed dresses from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, ranging from a late 17th century mantua, to a dress from Dior's 2005-2006 collection by John Galliano. Each dress has a full page, often with a small shot of some of the details of the dress, along with information about it. I've found some photos on the Met's website of dresses that are in the book, and these are some of my favourites.

This evening dress from around 1884 is just the most gorgeous colour! I'm also fascinated by the size of the bustle, which would have made sitting down rather difficult.

This evening gown, by Callot Soeurs, dates to around 1910-1014. It's made of a net overdress embroidered with sequins, worn over a silk and lace underdress. So elegant.

Just 18 years later, and the silhouette has changed dramatically. This evening dress from 1928 by Louiseboulanger has a skirt made of individual ostrich plumes knotted together to form longer strands. Imagine how lovely it would feel on your thighs as you danced!

This is the wedding ensemble worn by Wallace Simpson when she married the Duke of Windsor, who had formerly been King Edward VIII of England, but had abdicated to marry her. The floor length dress and matching jacket were specially created by designer Mainbocher for the wedding. Originally the outfit was pale blue, but a defect in the stability of the dye caused it to fade to cream over time.

I adore this Dior ball gown, titles "May" from 1953. It is silk, embroidered all over with wild clover and flowering grasses.

Here's a closeup of the embroidery. How stunning! I really like the way the clover flowers stick out from the fabric, it's almost 3D.

I'm impressed by the sheer size of this John Galliano for House of Dior ballgown, made for spring/summer 1998. Imagine sweeping into a room, or better, down a marble staircase, in this dress!

A shot from the front. The whole thing is made out of silk taffeta, imagine gathering all those ruffles. There are lots of dresses in the book that aren't on the Met website, including a delicious Worth gown, and some more Dior, so if you want to drool over some lovely gowns, check it out.


  1. Stunning book.

    How did you get the photos to scan so well? I had a lot of trouble with mine.

  2. Ah, I just pinched them from the Met's website, from the costume collection.

  3. Well, they are gorgeous, aren't they!