Published on August 17th, 2015 | by Carli Spina
Girl in Dior Review
Author: Annie Goetzinger
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Despite being a very visual medium, fashion is rarely the focus of graphic novels. But Girl in Dior shows the potential for bringing fashion, and particularly fashion history, to life through a combination of text and artwork. In this book, Goetzinger tells the story of Christian Dior’s rise from his first show in 1947 to the end of his life a decade later in 1957. The story is told from the point of view of Clara, an eager young fashion reporter who attends Dior’s first show. After this event she becomes wrapped up in his world, ultimately becoming a Dior model and an important part of his inner circle. Though Clara is a fictional character, Goetzinger weaves her in with the famous people who populated Dior’s inner circle, such as Lauren Bacall, and uses her to reveal details about Dior’s works and his designs. Clara serves as a stand-in for the reader throughout the story, particularly because she is just as in awe of Dior and his world as is the reader. Moreover, because the story is told from the point of view of an outsider, and specifically one with the mind of a journalist, Goetzinger is able to integrate elements of Dior’s background without overwhelming the story.
Though the story is enjoyable and informative, it is Goetzinger’s artwork that sets this book apart. She brings motion and depth to the illustrations of Dior fashions and, in particular, his shows. Moreover, the style of the art brings to mind classic fashion drawings in a way that complements the topic. By the end of the book, readers will be completely absorbed in the story of Dior’s ultimately short career in fashion. Clara’s story is also resolved in a way that lends a fairytale element to the book. At times it was difficult to separate fact from fiction, but even this minor issue was alleviated by Goetzinger’s decision to include additional information at the end, including a timeline, glossary and bibliography.
This book will appeal to fans of fashion design and history as well as your traditional graphic novel fans, and would make a great suggestion for readers who do not normally think to read graphic novels. The Girl in Dior would be a strong addition to either a public library or academic library’s collection.