ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



December 2019



The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
Anyone who might enjoy a 1950s time capsule of fashion terms and ideals.

In a nutshell:
Christian Dior provides definitions and opinions on everything from collars to tweed in this 65-year-old gift book.

Worth quoting:
“However much you admire a certain frock or coat on somebody else before you wear a similar one yourself you must think to yourself ‘What will this do for me?’”

Why I chose it:
In April of this year I was fortunate enough to attend the Dior exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum in London. It was amazing. I wanted some memento and so purchased this little book, started it, and then promptly buried it in my nightstand pile, resurrected this week as I attempt to start 2020 with no half-read books.

I think my title for this review says it all: one can definitely tell it was written in the 1950s. Fur features prominently in here (fox, sable, mink – all are discussed, and the various virtues compared), the styles mentioned revolve heavily around skirts and skirt suits (I’m not sure trousers were mentioned at all), and every picture is of very tiny white woman. Additionally, Dior makes many mentions of what is appropriate for ‘plump’ women in terms of prints and color which, frankly, I have no interest in. Wear what you like!

That said, it was a bit of an interesting time capsule, to read Dior’s thoughts on different aspects of fashion. Unfortunately, many of the definitions are less, well, definitions, and more paragraphs about how said item fits into Dior’s view of fashion. Which is fine, but it’s hard for me to assess Dior’s thoughts on pique when I’m still not entirely sure what that is. Additionally, many sections (such as hemlines) would have benefited from drawings showing the various types and their names.

Still, it’s a fun little read, and I’ll put it on my bookshelf along with my other fashion and etiquette books.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it.

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