Chanel vs Dior

The covers

I found these two precious books, Dreaming of Chanel & Dreaming of Dior, by accident in a corner of a bookstore in Plaza Senayan, Jakarta. It’s about the author, Charlotte Smith, who inherited 3.000 pieces (THREE THOUSANDS PIECES!!!) of clothing from dresses, suits, bags, hats, shoes, and many more from her godmother, Doris.

All the clothes are vintage dating from 1790 to 1995. In these books Charlotte Smith wrote about her collections; the person who used to wear those dresses and stories behind them, some are tragic and some are funny.

Story of Doris

As my newly appointed godmother, Doris was bitterly disappointed she couldn’t come to visit my mother and me after I entered the world. But Matilda Hospital on The Peak in Hong Kong was a long way from Philadelphia.

As a consolation present, my mother went to her favorite shop in Kowloon and bought this sumptuous beaded and sequined top for Doris.

Doris was over the moon. When the precious package arrived she tried the top on with every skirt in her wardrobe and the collection until she found the perfect match. In a long letter thanking my mother, Doris said she couldn’t believe this decadent gift was really for her. She had never owned anything quite so splendid.

Story of Alex

It’s not surprisingly that on its first outing this sparkling 1950s creation ignited an affair to remember.

A cheeky tomboy who was forever in trouble as a little girl, Alex had caused her parents all sorts of headaches. When caught stealing apples from the next door neighbours, she fell out of their tree and broke her arm. Ever since then the neighbours’ older son, Robert, had called her ‘Jinx’.

Soon afterwards Alex’s parents packed her off to a boarding school in Europe in the desperate hope that she would emerge a lady. As Alex made her grand entrance at a dinner dance ten years later, it seemed all their prayers had been answered.

As soon as Robert saw this vision loveliness, he strode across the dance floor to cut in and claim her. As her took her in his arms and saw her cheeky smile, he realised that this glamorous stranger was notorious apple thief.

The books filled with beautiful illustration by Grant Cowan, and even though the title is Dreaming of Chanel and Dreaming of Dior, the book itself is not only filled with Chanel and Dior dresses but also from other brands, famous and infamous, and some of them were made by the firsthand-owners.

Dreaming of Dior

Dreaming of Chanel

For me, these books are amazing. I love the illustrations as much as the stories. So lucky I found them…

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” ~ Coco Chanel


ikyu esjepe