Book: My Favourite Dress

I realised fairly recently that what I love about magazines is the visual side. That may sound obvious, but it’s more than just the photoshoots and pretty clothes. I love the layouts and the fonts. I love the way that the same content – photographs, text and illustrations – can be infinitely rearranged and reconstructed to portray and evoke different themes and emotions. I love the thought and imagination that goes into every single page to make it look new and enticing and inspiring.

Since coming to this understanding, I’ve been constantly searching for magazines and books to feed my hungry eyes. One of my most resent purchases is a book called My Favourite Dress by Gity Monsef, Samantha Erin Safer and Robert de Niet.

I was sucked in by promises of ‘lavishly illustrated’ pages; ‘a must have for any fashionista’. The book wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for, though. Perhaps my expectations are too high (after all, there aren’t many ways in which you can present a photograph of a dress along with a blurb from its designer explaining why it’s their favourite), but, after reading some beautifully-curated blogs and magazines, it just seemed a bit bland and lacking creativity.

Above: the inside cover of My Favourite Dress: notes from designers explaining their choices.

If you read my post about my visit to the V&A, then you might remember that I fell in love with the silhouette of Giles Deacon’s Pacman dress. As I mentioned then, I love the cinched-in waist and A-line skirt – I think this shape is flattering on pretty much anyone, and I was glad to see the shape again in Deacon’s favourite dress. Deacon’s blurb also exemplifies the fact that you really can find inspiration absolutely anywhere: the aptly named Car Wash gown below was (obviously) inspired by car wash brushes! Always keep your eyes and your mind open.

I also liked Alber Elbaz’s blurb (below). I like that he sees all women as equals and designs accordingly. Fashion shouldn’t be reserved for those with money, fame or influence. Fashion and, more importantly, style, has nothing to do with those things. It’s about how you convey your personal taste and express yourself with your clothing (and you don’t need to be shopping on Sloane Street for that).

Now, more than ever, we are being encouraged to experiment with the season’s trends, to mix them up with our favourite vintage and high street pieces (or to wear head-to-toe runway if you’re Anna Della Russo, and it makes you happy!). In this month’s ELLE, Susie Lau of Style Bubble says that “bending to the way people expect you to dress is not half as fun as pleasing yourself with your own style”. She couldn’t be more right. Enjoy dressing up, and turn to Vogue and Elle for inspiration – they aren’t rule books.

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