This week our lovely Vintage Librarian Claire Pursglove reviews a book on Fifties couturier Christian Dior. Could this book be a great last-minute Christmas present?

Dior – Alexandra Palmer
V&A Publishing

Christian Dior illuminated the fashion world in 1947 with his “New Look” collection, which made him both a household name and secured his place as a legend amongst his peers. His revolutionary re-evaluation of femininity in fashion embodied the post-war optimism, and was shocking in its use of elaborate embroidery and vast amounts of fabric (it screamed ‘rationing is over!’).

For those who couldn’t afford his haute couture pieces, there was also a ready-to-wear line, along with branded merchandise such as perfume and swim wear. Palmer has taken a fresh look at Dior’s history between 1947 and 1957, and delves into both his artistry and his ingenuity as a businessman. As you can imagine, the illustrations are pretty fabulous, but this is a genuinely fascinating read and not just a picture book.