After wartime austerity, after years of war, suffering and scarcity, France longed for inspiration and “joie de vivre”. And a young designer, born in Granville, in Normandy, was to offer much-needed excitement in spades. From the day of his very first couture show, in 1947, when he introduced the “new look” style, he revolutionized fashion, single-handedly redefined women’s style, and restated Paris as the world capital of elegance. Inspired by art, architecture and fashion icons –from Velázquez to Picasso, from Balenciaga to Balmain– he became an instant icon and an institution.
To understant his legacy and ground-breaking innovations –and the distinctive contribution of he geniuses who continued his work (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri), Bolfold has selected for you the following books.
Jérôme Gautier is an expert on fashion photography and the history of fashion, and in this volume he lavishly celebrates the contributions of the House of Dior from his beginning to the present day. Gautier produces an alluring narrative, a beautiful dissection of an unique style and refined panache, and complements it with classic images mixed with contemporary photographies and exquisite rarities.
Dior: New Looks, by Jerome Gautier. Harper Design (first edition: 2015). 304 pages. 10 x 13.1 inches. Buy it now at Amazon.
In 2011, Patrick Demarchelier produced an impressive and exquisite volume with his photographs for the Dior House. Heralded as a triumph in fashion editing, “Dior Couture” was considered as the “most gorgeous book on the house” (The New York Times) and the “book that anyone with an interest in fashion will want for their library” (Huffington Post).
Three years later, in 2014, the famous photographer joined forces with Cathy Horin, the chief fashion critic of The New York Times from 1999 to 2014, to launch a second volume of his sublime portraits of iconic Dior Haute Couture looks. It was, once again, a feast for the senses –sumptuously illustrated and beautifully designed– which captured the glamour and fabulous elegance of Dior creations.
Dior: New Couture, by Patrick Demarchelier. Rizzoli (first edition: 2014). 240 pages. 11.3 x 14.4 inches. Buy it now at Amazon.
Before photography, there was illustration. Drawings and sketches were an essential ingredient in promoting fashion in the first half of the twentieth century; from the 1970s onwards, photography was the medium of choice instead.
In order to pay tribute to fashion illustrators, and return to elegant images of the forties and fifties, the House of Dior approached Swedish illustrator Mats Gustafson in 2012. This fashion and portrait illustrator, whose creations have appeared in Vogue, the New Yorker of Harper’s Bazaar, produced a series of watercolors and collages infused with sophisticated charm. Futhermore, he just not rendered timeless haute couture masterpieces, but contemporary prêt-a-porter creations also.
The collaboration spanned five years, and in 2017, a sublime tome of 150 vibrant and gorgeous Gustafson renderings was launched.
This is a rare and glorious combination of history of fashion and history of photography. Mark Shaw was a legendary, über-gifted artist who was mentored by brilliant creative director Alexey Brodovitch and became one of the most sought-after photographers in the world. Working primarily for Life magazine in the fifties and sixties, he portrayed Audrey Hepburn and chronicled the rise of the Kennedys to the White House. In between, he had a priviledged access to the House of Dior, for whom he produced some of the first fashion photographs ever shot in color.
This lavish volume features more than 200 color and black-and-white photographs, many never published before, where Mark Shaw captured the glamour of a bygone era, but also introduced a photojournalistic approach to fashion photography. He pictured Christian Dior working in his atelier, the fitting process and the fashion shows backstages. There is intimacy and opulence, grandeur and details –all to render an exquisite tribute to the House of Dior.