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100 Unforgettable Dresses Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is a gallery of…dressmaking magic. I feel as though I am looking at a very special family album, one that revels in the joy, happiness, and desire we inspire in others when we triumph in creating moments of memorable beauty.” (Alber Elbaz)

From the Back Cover

100 Unforgettable Dresses is filled with the stories, secrets, intrigue, and insights behind the most indelible dresses in our collective memories. Featuring looks from the runway, film, television, the red carpet, and the worlds of royalty and politics, this book celebrates the staying power of these gorgeous, sleek, sultry, and outrageous creations as well as the lasting impact they’ve had in fashion, popular culture, and our own lives. More than two hundred images, a witty, informative text, and exclusive interviews with the designers and the women who wore the dresses reveal the initial spark and captivating drama behind the making of each dress. Also featured throughout are extensive anecdotes and observations about great style makers—Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Cate Blanchett—highlighting the conception of their most spectacular looks and examining their lasting influence.

Here is the tale of how a canny Gianni Versace helped an unknown Elizabeth Hurley become world famous overnight, thanks to the paparazzi frenzy whipped up by her red-carpet appearance in his now legendary safety-pin dress. Learn about the unique wedding gown Narciso Rodriguez designed exclusively for Caroline Bessette-Kennedy that inspired a whole new generation of brides. Go on the set of Top Hat, where Ginger Rogers’s ostrich-feather-laden dress began to molt immediately upon arrival, its flying feathers bringing the film’s production to a halt. Of course, the seminal work of exemplary designers—Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress and Christian Lacroix’s pouf, Chanel’s little black dress and Valentino’s infamous red ones, Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap and Marc Jacobs’s grunge collection—is featured throughout, with plenty of inside information on what inspired the invention of each piece.

With its wonderful anecdotes, fascinating facts, and just enough juicy gossip, 100 Unforgettable Dresses is a bewitching read for everyone who enjoys sensational clothes, movies, television, and music. Whether you’re a fashion maven, a red-carpet addict, a celebrity tracker, or a pop-culture aficionado, you won’t be able to put this book down!

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Design; First edition. edition (November 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061151661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061151668
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just purchased this through Amazon. I was initially wary of the title as I've been rather disappointed with most of the fashion-themed books published this year and for the last few years (and I've been buying fashion books for decades including anything with the word "couture" or "Vreeland" or "Yohji" or "Comme" in the title). However, it was a sheer joy to read from page 1 till the end; even the acknowledgements are so well-written. The author is witty, perceptive, sensitive to the ephemeral pleasure and excitement of fashion shows, alert to the technical details or innovations in a dress, fashion conscious (as opposed to some of the new titles written by bloggers or associate professors in design with no fashion passion and no references in the history of fashion) - there is delight in a superbly apt description of the dress and of that very moment when the dress made that impact. If you enjoyed the passion of Martin Gottfried in Broadway Musicals (1986), then you will know what I'm referring to. All through, there are little known delicious tidbits associated with each dress; for example, the seams on Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's Narciso wedding dress (not a favourite dress of mine but that's not the point) and a wonderful little story about the cutting of the dress (which I cannot spoil for the next reader). One doesn't have to agree with all his choices but I was thrilled that he chose Anne Margaret's dress in the opening sequence of Bye Bye Birdie. The description of Carmen Kass walking in the Chanel rtw ostrich feathered dress is gorgeous. I'm probably overreacting (slightly) here but this is not fashion writing, this is prose.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't understand why other reviewers have rated this so highly. I was really disappointed with both the quality of the photographs and the summaries. Perfect example. One of the highlighted dresses, is the beautiful and famous red gown Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman when she and "Edward Lewis" (the actor Richard Gere) go to the Opera. Well, the photo is grainy (looks like it was copied and pasted from an internet site) AND the photo only shows half the dress! The pages of this book are 8" X 11" - yet this photo is only half the size of the page and only shows the dress from hips up. There is literally half a page of blank white at the top of the page.

The author's picture and commentary of the late Princess Diana's wedding gown was equally disappointing. Instead of presenting the dress within it's context of time and fashion, he references only designers who hated the dress and blame a decade (the 80's) of over the top wedding dresses. Those were the 80's! And the photo accompanying the gown only gives a side angle, leaving the reader unable to see the massive train and veil, which were spectacular at the time.

Other photos in the book do not provide any ability to view the details of the dress. Stevie Nicks, "Goth Goddess Dress" - it just looks like she's wearing a black dress! If you squint, you can sort of see "something shiny" on the dress - what are they? Beading? Sequins? I don't know, because he doesn't even explain it very well, except to say it was a corset top and chiffon skirt. That's just one example; there are loads in the book.....Madonna in "The Sicilian Dress", Audrey Hepburn in "The Embassy Ball Gown for My Fair Lady" - photos are poor quality & one can't see details of the dress at all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I guess when i saw the 100 unforgetable dresses I was thinking from the 1800's to present day. I would say that 80% is 2000- to 2011. If those are the unforgetable dresses we're in a very sorry state in this country!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was everything I could hope for as a poor girl from the Midwest who has to get her fashion fix from what other's are wearing. My favorite dress of all time (the canary yelllow vintage dress worn by Renee Zellweger at the Academy Awards) is included and for that alone it is worth the price. I also liked the backstory on the dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe,
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Evidently Mr. Rubenstein is easily impressed by poor dresses and actresses with very bad taste.

I can't imagine where he's been but he's either very young and can't remember when dresses were beautiful and complimented a woman or he hates women.

Most of the book should have been left in the editor's waste basket.

Shame of the both of them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was fun to flip through this, but I doubt I will do so again. The quality of the pictures is not on par with other coffee-table type book, and the accompanying text was not memorable. However it is priced appropriately. Even so, if I had to do it again knowing what I know now, I would not purchase this item. I found Vogue: The Covers far more enjoyable.
Vogue: The Covers
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to give as a Christmas gift, but I just couldn't part with it. It's a beautiful book - great for leaving out for guests to look over. The photographs are beautiful and the accompanying stories are interesting.
I really love this book and so does everyone who sees it at my house. It's irresistible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had this book for three years now (I bought it March 7, 2012) and it is one of my favorite books. I've probably got 40/50 coffee table books that I've collected in three years. My collection is worth around $2,000. And out of all of them, this is the one I visit the most. Partly because it's a lot smaller than the million pound books I have, and partly because it's just that great. It's an amazing reference. I'm seventeen, and my life is based around fashion. I know more than people who have been in the industry for decades. This book has taught me a lot. It has information that you can't find anywhere else. The descriptions of Carmen Kass' Chanel dress and Carolyn Bessette's wedding dress are absolutely mesmerizing. I will pull this book randomly just to read one page. I haven't read it cover to cover, because it's fun to go back and find dresses you haven't read about. Read this. Experience it.
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