Valerie Steele’s Impossible Collection of Fashion

Valerie Steele’s new book, The Impossible Collection of Fashion, outlines the 100 most iconic dresses of the 20th century.

The Impossible Collection of Fashion; Valerie Steele by Aaron Cobbett, 2007

Valerie Steele [revered fashion historian and director of the Museum at New York’s F.I.T.]’s latest book [and addition to our library wish-list] The Impossible Collection of Fashion outlines the 100 most significant dresses of the 20th century, ranging from Paul Poiret to Hussein Chalayan.  While we haven’t yet had a chance to peruse the $650 Assouline tomé’s pages, we can guess from the name-dropped designers purportedly found within that the list goes something like this: Something Lampshade by Poiret, Something Bias-cut by Vionnet, Something New Look by Dior, Something Red by Valentino, and Something Modular by Chalayan [judging from the book’s cover the Holding Pattern dress from S/S 2000], among others.

Visit for some digital ogling of the inside pages; below a series of photos of work by iconic designers featured in the book.

Actress Diana Irving in Poiret, circa 1910s

Vionnet by Edward Steichen, circa 1930s

Domiva in Dior, by Avedon, 1950s

A Pucci resort gown circa 1960s

Sophia Loren in red, perhaps by Valentino, circa early 60s

Hussein Chalayan’s Holding Pattern dress, S/S 2000



Valerie Steele's Impossible Collection of Fashion

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