In April 2022, The Unexpected Editions published a new book by Megan Hess: The little black dress. The American fashion illustrator has accustomed us to precious books, including a drawn account of the life of Coco Chanel, another of Christian Dior, among other titles on haute couture. As of April, the first edition of the translation of this new title has already been sold out: treat yourself, the book has been available again since October.
This time is dedicated to all fashionable, iconic and historical black dresses. As beautiful as it is well documented, the work of Megan Hess is there to put in the hands of all lovers of fashion and beautiful books.
Every Megan Hess book is a delight, and this one is no exception. The object itself is appreciable, with its title slightly hollowed out in the thickness of a soft cover, and gold lettering playing with the light. The layout, typical of the illustrator’s works, alternates black and white pages, responding well to the artist’s bicolor illustrations.
These beautiful images can simply be blamed for a design of female bodies that is too thin, although typical of fashion sketching, and the regret that results from the fact that the silhouettes and/or faces of the aforementioned personalities do not resemble each other (Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Michelle Obama, Lady Diana, etc.); although we understand that Megan Hess’s style, directly inspired by fashion, is more concerned with transcribing her garment than with the person herself.
Thus, with her elegantly worked images, Megan Hess splashes her silhouettes in black lines on a white background with some colors and produces drawings that continue to have so much charm, with that touch of haute couture, and some very poetic decorations. Again, this” table book » can be flipped through to daydream about, or read in one sitting, to discover the story of the little black dress.
Because in addition to being a beautiful illustrated book for adults, The little black dress produces a very well documented text, which allows us to discover a new element in the history of fashion.
There is no real person as the subject of this book, but a cloth character. The little black dress wanders from page to page, every time it is visited by a new fashion designer, be it a couturier or costume designer in Hollywood. Megan Hess doesn’t skip any iconic black dress, covering a period from 1926 to today, in different Western countries and various backgrounds: fashion, of course, but also film, entertainment, politics, and even royalty. By punctuating her text with quotes about dresses in general, black dresses or the latter color, Megan Hess allows her reader to discover the points of view of big names in fashion, on elegance and style.
Finally, what we also appreciate in The little black dress, in addition to the superb illustrations, is the author’s pen. Although Megan Hess is often referred to as an illustrator, her first profession, it must be recognized that the texts of her books, also by her hand, are as elegant and pleasant to browse as her visual work. . With this work, the American confirms both her profession as an illustrator, as well as her abilities as a writer.
If you like the work of Megan Hess, The little black dress will be added to your collection. With its reduced format and its corresponding price, this beautiful little fashion book will delight more than one.
The little black dressMegan Hess
Editions L’Imprévu, April 2022 (republished in October 2022), 144 pages