Thumbnail: The Fashion Illustrations of ‘Girl in Dior’
Annie Goetzinger's Girl in Dior is, unsurprisingly, a love letter to designer Christian Dior, both as a person and as a designer. The illustrations lovingly recreate many of his designs from the presentation of his first collection all the way up to the designer's death. The styles that Dior created changed women's fashion for the post-war era, taking women from more functional, simple clothing, back to more elaborate designs. Goetzinger's historical research is impeccable, but it's her art, and, more specifically, the way she illustrates clothing, that makes Girl in Dior so impressive.
Don't misunderstand: Girl in Dior is much more than a comic about clothing. It's also about the life and culture of women of various classes in post-war France, and how fashion was perceived by them. The elite classes were able to embrace Dior's designs because they could afford to, although eventually the silhouettes that Dior pioneered became the silhouettes we so often associate with the 1950s for all women.
Goetzinger shows dress after dress in this comic, but it never feels repetitive or like it takes away from the story. Since the story is Dior, after all, there are plenty of opportunities to show fashion, but it feels very organic. It's not just about dresses being on mannequins, but rather living, breathing humans moving in clothing. Fabric crinkles, pleats, bunches, and it feels like you can almost hear the whisper of it moving around as the characters dash through a fashion show or the streets of Paris. Whether it's a beautiful hat, a day dress, or a ball gown, the fashion in this comic is fascinating.
The colors are rich and the linework is precise - clearly Goetzinger was dedicated to recreating Dior's designs in a way that was accessible and interesting. It's not just Dior's designs, though, that Goetzinger has recreated. All of the people in Girl in Dior wear individual outfits as human beings do, including background characters. No one gets a generic background outfit, but rather each individual gets clothing that befits their role and station, whether that's as a Dior model or an fruit seller. This comic, ultimately, is not about just fashion, but about how fashion and clothing affected and reflected the lives of women as the entire world recovered from great tragedy.