100 Unforgettable Dresses, Hardback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


It's amazing that one feathered dress helped shape the most memorable number of the screen's greatest dance team, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

It's a rush to discover that a fabric developed for automobile upholstery became the source for Halston's most famous creation. And although many people may not remember what film she won her Best Actress Oscar for ("The Hours"), no red-carpet watcher can forget the immediate and stunning effect of a young, copper-tressed Nicole Kidman in a commanding chartreuse chinoiserie gown by Dior.

Fashion's calendar of shows may be fixed years in advance but its landmark events - such as Alexander McQueen revealing the final dress for one of his presentations as a three-dimensional hologram, or Jason Wu discovering Michelle Obama had selected his design for her inaugural ball gown only by actually seeing her appear on television, or Marilyn Monroe entertaining President John F.

Kennedy in a second skin of sequins - were all unexpected, serendipitous delights. Today we thrive on both the recognition of fashion's immediate ability to shape our self-images and our enlightened awareness of the way past examples of significant design affected the way women dressed, as well as how society perceived them. "100 Unforgettable Dresses" celebrates this remarkable power by citing those gowns, minis, muumuus, shifts, shirtwaists, sheaths, costumes, and beaded extravaganzas that sparked unforgettable collective memories and are directly responsible for changing how women wanted to look.

Media personality and style authority Hal Rubenstein relates the stories of these amazing creations with an entertaining, fact-rich text that contains fascinating history, eye-opening anecdotes, and illuminating details about each dress' inspiration and construction, its contribution to fashion design, and its influence on popular culture.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208 pages, 200 Colour
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of fashion
  • ISBN: 9780061151668

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"Women's fashion is a culturally pervasive, behavior-altering, trend-inducing, emotion-stirring, perpetually exhausting, psychologically daring, hopefully uplifting yet potentially scarring, and occasionally foolish but undeniably influential celebration of craftsmanship, showmanship, ego, and seduction that has us more riveted and more attuned to its output and our appearances than ever before."By the fashion director of Instyle magazine, and with a forward by designer and dressmaker Alber Elbaz, this is a great book for hard core fashionatas and people like me who religiously read Instyle and find the red carpet coverage the best part of an awards show. These dresses are, in Rubenstein's opinion, the ones that stand out as the "WOW" moments of fashion history - the perfect blending of the dress and the wearer's ability to carry off the outfit with mesmorizing effect. Starting with Gianni Versace's 'Safety-Pin Gown'- worn by Elizabeth Hurley for the world premiere of her then beau Hugh Grant's movie Four Weddings and a Funeral back in 1994 - Rubenstein bounces the reader through time - and fashion - in an eclectic manner. While I don't always agree with Rubenstein's decision behind including some of the dresses in this collection, I cannot fault the inside scoop presentation of the history behind the dresses' creations and the sometimes collaborative nature between the designer and the "model" - such was the relationship between Hubert de Givenchy and the actress Audrey Hepburn - as that had me page turning almost as much as the pictures did. Who can forget the chartreuse colored chinoiserie gown by Galliano that Nicole Kidman wore to the 1997 Academy Awards or the white halter dress by Travilla worn by Marilyn Monroe.... yah, the one where she is standing over the subway system grating? I was intrigued to learn that the tangerine orange gown by Vera Wang that Charlize Theron wore to the 2000 Academy Awards achieved its unique iridescence color and effect through multiple overlays of chiffon in different hues including pistachio, lemon, vermillion and pink. Overall, great eye candy with enticing insider stories from one that has been a fashion "insider" for some time. ... and for those interested in knowing, the cover art is a picture of the bodice of the dinner gown by Hubert de Givenchy that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to a dinner at Versailles hosted by President and Madame de Gaulle during President Kennedy and the first lady's trip to Paris in 1961.