Review: Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger

Girl in Dior was one of NBM Publishing’s Spring 2015 releases. Published in France by Dargaud in 2013 as Jeune Fille en Dior, the book inserts a fictional newspaper reporter turned model into the world of Christian Dior, the famous French designer who took the world by storm in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. Dior’s dresses were opulent in a time of post-war shortage, and left a mark on fashion that reverberates through design today.

It would be nice to say that Goetzinger’s pseudomemoir of the Christian Dior fashion house between 1947-1957 would have the same impact on comics, but sadly, that’s not the case.

Girl in Dior is not well written, and there isn’t a better or nicer way to say that. The main character, Clara, goes from being a new fashion chronicler to Dior model to Duchess. That transition seems so odd as to be glazed-eye inducing; any conflict that could arise from the contents of the book is quickly quashed as we move, briskly, from scene to scene. Let your eyes linger on pretty dresses and don’t think too hard.

Goetzinger is a talented illustrator, and it’s easy to get caught up in her illustrations of Dior’s designs. But the drawings are intensely cold; delicate, yes, but dead on arrival. Goetzinger’s use of negative space thins out the dresses and their lush color, bleaching the page of any emotion.

Normally, I don’t mention the forward/preface of a book, but Anna Gavalda’s rambling, apologetic, “I didn’t actually read this book” essay is bizarre. An odd choice for NBM to pull forward, I assume, from the French edition.

It is rare to find a book that seems to have so much promise and fails so spectacularly. Girl in Dior is one of those books. Like spun sugar, it is pretty, sweet, and without substance.

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