Author(s): Richard Lester, PH.D.
The Dress of the Year is a deluxe study of exquisite fashion from 1963 to the present, drawn from the renowned collection at the Fashion Museum, Bath. Each year, a fashion-world luminary is invited to capture the definitive moment in an international whirlwind of creative style by choosing the outfit that truly represents that year's mood in fashion. The announcement of each winner is widely covered in the British press, and the resulting Dress of the Year collection is a treasure trove of international design. Among the extraordinary roll-call of design names are Mary Quant, Jean Muir, Ossie Clark, Biba, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Margaret Howell, Katharine Hamnett, Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Paul Smith, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren, Donatella Versace, Tom Ford, Marni, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Kate Moss for Top Shop, Vivienne Westwood and Sarah Burton. The choices are made and explained by a Who's Who of great style writers, including Felicity Green, Prudence Glynn, Beatrix Miller, Grace Coddington, Suzy Menkes, Colin McDowell, Liz Tilberis, Isabella Blow, Iain R. Webb, Alexandra Shulman, Hilary Alexander, Paula Reed and Hamish Bowles. Through specially-commissioned new photography, unseen archive material and contemporary media images, this sumptuous book reveals the Dress of The Year collection in all its glory for the first time. The book champions an important and fascinating fashion project, offering a detailed insight into our ever-changing styles and tastes since the early 1960s, and revealing the complex interplay between haute couture, celebrity endorsement and the High Street.
Richard Lester trained with Sotheby's in the early 1990s, having worked for Osborne & Little and Liberty, and combines writing with running an online vintage fashion business. In 2004 he donated a large collection of designs by John Bates to the Fashion Museum, Bath and assisted in organising the designer's retrospective exhibition at the museum in 2006.