Books: Just the Way You Look Tonight Couture

by Caroline Rennolds Milbank; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 431 pages; $65

Christian Dior created not only the New Look but a new silhouette every six months. Mme. Gres has been turning out her gently flowing dresses pretty much the same way for more than a half-century. Paul Poiret, the first celebrity couturier, left nothing undesigned, not only what a woman wore but everything she touched. His spiritual heir, Ralph Lauren, clothes not only whole milieus but fantasies as well: the dream of belonging, whether to a club or a board or the ski crowd at Vail. Giorgio Armani influenced the way almost every designer thinks by adapting to classic dictates of menswear....

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