A brief scan of the preface – a psychoanalytical essay on the mechanisms of joy – tells you this is no ordinary fashion coffee-table book. Inspired by Christian Dior‘s relentless pursuit of happiness (“I dream of making women not only more beautiful, but also happier,” was his war cry), psychoanalyst and philosopher Muriel Teodori delves into the Maison Dior’s archives and the history of contemporary photography, to present privileged moments that best express the couturier and his brand’s intrinsic joie de vivre.

Whether you buy wholly into the concept or not (page after page of simpering starlets and supermodels having, seemingly, the time of their life can niggle at one’s cynical side), it’s impossible not to crack a smile at the gallery of beaming actresses gliding down the runway, rowdy revellers shimmying up a Conga line at a masked ball or fly-on-the-wall shots of Dior fixing a hemline, grinning to himself in his atelier. Joy was and still is endemic to the haute couture house. An exuberant ode to fashion – in the strictest, most euphoric, sense – and the “neglected art of pleasing”.

Dior: Moments of Joy, by Muriel Teodori, published by Flammarion

From France Today magazine. For more France Today book reviews, click here

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