I have such an adoration for great fashion illustrations. Must have come from my grandmother, who was always sketching the sweetest little snippets— handbags, high heels, my old ballet shoes even. So I fell in love with this recent title The Hundred Dresses, with commentary by Erin McKean and illustrations by Donna Mehalko. 100 dresses fill its pages… a sketch, description, and history of each, plus which fashionistas wore it, and how you should accessorize it.
Flipping through the pages, you’ll find iconic pieces, like the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Bond Girl, the Marilyn, and the Pretty Woman. You’ll see classic shapes that you always attribute to a certain wearer or designer, like the Caftan (Elizabeth Taylor), or the Wrap Dress (Diane von Furstenberg). And you’ll find gowns that you never ever realized were icons before, like The First Oscar (worn by Renee Zellweger, Rooney Mara, Jennifer Lawrence, and Marion Cotillard— check now and you’ll laugh!).
McKean has rounded up, give or take, the most famous dresses from the past century, from the June Cleaver to the J.Lo to the Jersey Shore. Only disappointment? No sign of a “Lilly” or “The Shift.” Other than that, this is a pretty darn comprehensive guide. Read (or, admittedly, browse the photos) for pleasure, or use it as the ultimate dress resource and field guide.
The Hundred Dresses
By Erin McKean
Illustrated by Donna Mehalko