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Dior Gets Graphic

Meet “Girl in Dior” graphic novelist Annie Goetzinger at Books & Books.

Best-selling graphic novelist Annie Goetzinger comes to Books & Books at Bal Harbour Shops, discussing her newest work, “Girl in Dior” on Thursday, April 23 at 6:30pm. The breathtaking biographical docudrama of the life of Christian Dior, starts with the launch of his brand and takes you through the couturier's elegant journey in the world of fashion. Here, we catch up with one of grandes dames of French comic art as she premieres “Girl in Dior”.

Annie Goetzinger, author and illustrator of "Girl in Dior".

What was the inspiration behind “Girl in Dior”?
I was motivated by a strong desire to talk about fashion, which I feel comics tend to ignore or maybe even despise. Fashion certainly seems to ignore and despise comics, in return. So, I was trying to unite two worlds that often seem galaxies apart from each other!

Why were you so taken by Dior’s personal story?
Christian Dior charmed me, as he was both shy and daring. That can explain, in part, his aesthetic which was both understated and boldly elegant.

"Girl in Dior" is a comic tale of the house of Christian Dior.

The book is filled with small tidbits of biographical information and details surrounding the design house. How much research did you do in preparation for this book and what were your sources—libraries, archives, behind the scenes at maison Dior?
I've read Christian Dior’s biography, “Dior et moi,” as well as extended interviews and many other books about the designer. I have a nice library full of fashion books and magazines that has been a great resource for my research. I also interviewed several people, among them, two older ladies, who have been dressmakers for Dior since the beginning. They were fascinating to speak with.

How many of these details—would you say—are factual as opposed to fictional?
Most of them are based on actual events that took place and biographical details that I researched.

The author researched archives, read biographies and spoke with members of the dressmaking team in writing developing this story.

On the pages released to the press, a woman at Dior’s first fashion show remarks, “the dresses took 60 to 80 hours [to make]…and 450 for the bridal one.” Is that true to life?
Yes, it’s true. It took 60 to 80 hours and 450 hours for a bridal dress in 1947. Excellence takes time!

After his fashion show, in the book, Dior explains to a reporter, “I want every woman in the world to feel as beautiful as a duchess.” Do you believe the couturier really felt that way?
Christian Dior actually said that. He was likely being a bit cheeky in front of the journalists, but he was ultimately a total perfectionist. You know, he was an old fashioned man in his way of life, a perfect "bourgeoisie français.”

The story pulls from true events in Christian Dior's life and career.

What is your background in fashion illustration?
I am a comic artist. I never worked in fashion illustration previously but I did make costumes for the theater. In fact, I worked on costumes for stage productions of "Gone with the Wind!" That was very special.

Would you say that you were more interested in exploring the garments themselves—their tailoring, construction, color and form—in this book or the story behind the man and designer?
The garments, the man and designer, are all one in the same in this case. Christian Dior was a couturier whose life was a total work of art. Dior lived and breathed those garments, so that attention to detail and desire to create beauty translated into every sphere of his life.

The author never worked in fashion illustration, but did work with stage costumes at one point in her career.

The pages have a near-watercolor effect to them. Did you color the pages with paint or marker before they were reproduced or was everything done on the computer?/p>
I work with paper, pencils, brushes and watercolors. I spend lots of time indoors honing my craft, like a middle-aged nun in a convent. But I love it!

Besides the obvious language difference, is there any difference in content between the English and the French versions of “Girl in Dior”?
The English and French version are totally similar. We tried to keep the tone consistent in both, and of course, the images are the same. Hopefully, readers will be able to enjoy “Girl in Dior” in various corners of the world, regardless of their native tongue or geography.

 

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