Fifty Chairs Dresses Shoes Cars

I can’t remember a series of books that spoke to my overarching obsessions more clearly. You only have to look at the covers to see what I mean. There in all their glory are four icons of the design world: a Givenchy dress, a Verner Panton chair, a Jaguar E-Type and a Jimmy Choo sandal.


Fifty Dresses That Changed the World, Fifty Chairs That Changed the World Fifty Cars That Changed the World,and Fifty Shoes That Changed the World aren’t those awful stocking fillers you see every year, each containing a badly edited list that makes anyone with a modicum of knowledge spit their cocoa across the room in horror.

These neat hardbacks are produced by the UK’s Design Museum, and have the weight of authoritative research behind them. The books attempt to catalogue the pieces that have made the most substantial impact in their area of design, with each entry giving a short appraisal of the item’s iconic status.

Whilst I may not agree with all the entries, the whole is a fascinating window into both design and social history. And at just £12.99, they’d make great presents, even for grumpy know-it-alls like myself.

Now: the exciting bit. Because I loved them so much, I persuaded the lovely people at Octopus to give me a stack of these wonderful books, and I’m going to give them away to LLG readers three copies of one title at a time. Today I’m giving away THREE COPIES OF FIFTY DRESSES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, so that three people can drool over the 1915 Delphos Pleated dress, Hussein Chalayan’s 2007 LED creation and the rest,

Simply leave me a comment telling me about your favourite dress, and I’ll randomly pick a winner on Wednesday next week.
(This is a UK-delivery only competition I am afraid. Of course that is not so say you can’t enter if you live anywhere else, but the books can only be sent to UK addresses)

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The divine dress of my dreams, that will never be spoiled for me as I will never try it on – qed no ruined illusions.
Mr Galliano I am your slave.


This is totally and utterly predictable, and I assume it's in the book (if it's not, don't bother sending it to me!) but it has to be the famous black 1947 Dior New Look dress with the cream coloured nipped-waist peplum jacket and the big straw hat. I think I've been to the V&A to see it about ten times now. It's such an iconic piece, not just because it's a design classic, but because it signified massive changes in the world. The war was over and suddenly all that fabric was around to change the silhouette so dramatically for years to come.


My favourite ever dress is the one that I wore at my 10-year high school reunion this summer. It is black, short and fringed, and made me feel like the titular Dancing Queen of the Abba song i.e. fabulous. Even better, it cost me peanuts, but looked like a million-dollar dress. It looks a lot like this one:


My favourite dress has to be another Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn – the wedding dress from "Funny Face" –
Was there ever anyone as beautiful as Audrey?


Oh, the tight vintage 60s number covered with rhinestones I bought too big in 8th grade, out of pure love, that fits perfectly now.


My favourite dress is a brown 70s Bus Stop dress, with chickens printed all over it. It sounds awful, but when I discovered it in a bin bag full of my aunt's stuff in my grandmother's attic, I loved it. It fitted perfectly (just the right amount of cleavage, and flatteringly stomach skimming – my aunt and I have the exact same figure). I wore it and wore it, all the way through 6th form and university. It's now been relegated to a suitcase full of my old stuff in my mother's house. I'm hoping my 7 year old niece will discover it there one day.


my best dress ever is the sparkly vintage brocade one my EX boyfriend told me i looked like a christmas decoration in in front of all his friends. however – at least five or six people tapped me on the shoulder throughout the evening to tell me how fabulous it was. Did I mention EX? haha. xx


ooh fab, ok my favourite is an early 70s brown cotton biba with art deco printed all over it, which fits perfectly too!


It's black lace, found on the floor of a Zara sale years ago for £10. I've worn it to everything, from everyday with flats to evening, for work meetings to a picnic at the park with flip-flops and Xmas dinner with friends. I've worn it so much the wrap detail at the front has loosened up and is now held together with a pin making it uneven (but I like it even more this way!) And wearing it one day this summer, waiting at some London traffic lights I got the best compliment EVER, from a cute old lady, "I love the way it moves at the back and it shows off your pretty legs! You walk well in it!" I walked with her to her house, chatting about her granddaughter, called everyone I know to tell them and had a smile on my face for the rest of the day! x


I'm afraid my favourite book would not feature in this book. The dress which is THE ONE for me used to belong to my lovely aunt who is a great inspiration to me in many respects. It is wooly, has a hound's tooth pattern and I love wearing it with opaque burgundy tights and sturdy black velvet heels. The dress became all the more special to me when I wore it last year, since my now-fiancé proposed to me on that particular day. I always think of this every time I wear it now and it gives me such a great pick-me-up feeling!

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