In this limited edition, Ultimate Collection format linen clamshell and handmade oversized book, Valerie Steele flexes her curatorial muscle by showcasing the most iconic dresses of the twentieth century. From Poiret to Pucci, Doucet to Dior, Vionnet to Valentino, Steele selects one hundred dresses that caused a stir either on the runway or entering a room and ultimately inspired new directions in fashion. Steele’s selections include Paul Poiret’s figure-liberating 1907 gown, Madame Grès’s sublimely draped goddess creation from 1938, Jean Paul Gaultier’s shockingly exaggerated cone-bust corset dress circa 1984, and Hussein Chalayan’s awe-inspiring remote-control fiberglass Airplane dress from 2000. The compilation, while certainly subjective, is sure to receive nods of recognition along with a gasp or two of surprise.
Valerie Steele (PhD, Yale University) is director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT). Having curated more than twenty exhibitions in the past ten years, Dr. Steele also serves as editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, which she founded in 1997. She has appeared on many television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Undressed. The Washington Post describes her as one of “fashion’s brainiest women,” and she was included in the New York Daily News list of “Fashion’s 50 Most Powerful.”
Assouline’s Ultimate Collection is an homage to the art of luxury bookmaking. Hand-bound using traditional techniques, with color plates hand-tipped on art-quality paper, each page of this limited-edition series bears the unique imprint of the artisan. Treating a range of topics from jewelry and fashion, fine art and the ‘Impossible Collections,’ the Ultimate Collection curates culture from around the world and across the ages. Nestled in linen clamshell presentation cases, these books attract collectors, lovers of the printed page, and those who devour the culture of our time. Signaling a new level of sophistication for true connoisseurs, these unique books are works of art in their own right.
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