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Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture
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Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  127 reviews
"Remarkable" --Hamish Bowles, Vogue

The overdue restoration of Catherine Dior's extraordinary life, from her brother's muse to Holocaust survivor

When the French designer Christian Dior presented his first collection in Paris in 1947, he changed fashion forever. Dior's "New Look" created a striking, romantic vision of femininity, luxury, and grace, making him--and his last n
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published November 9th 2021 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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I was aware that Catherine Dior was active in the resistance to the Nazi Regime. I was not aware of how much she did. She was in serious danger and was heavily involved in helping keep Hilter from taking over France and the rest of the world. She saw her friends murdered and disappear. She herself went to Ravensburck Concentration Camp and endured horrific treatment. So, Catherine Dior was so courageous. Yet, after the war she did not speak of her experiences. Her friends who lived did not eithe ...more
This is a difficult book to review. It’s not so much a biography of Catherine Dior as it is a portrait of her family, her famous brother Christian, their associates, and the times in which they lived.

Catherine herself was a very quiet and private woman who avoided attention. Her strong belief in freedom and democracy led to her becoming a member of the French resistance during World War II. She was captured by the Nazis, tortured, and deported to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. Un
Jan 18, 2022 rated it liked it
This book is NOT exclusively about Catherine Dior as is advertised (it is marketed as a “Biography”).

Having finished the book the title could just as well refer to Miss Dior (Christian’s first perfume- (see pages 248-257) or the flower girl dress, Miss Dior, so named in Christian’s 1949 spring/summer collection- (see page 311).

Because so little is known about Catherine Dior’s time in the Resistance and her imprisonment – having left no diaries or letters and indeed refused to talk about her exp
Emma Hardy
Sep 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Disappointed to say that I expected much much more from this. More focussed on the political landscape widely than anything Miss Dior. A few really insightful chapters but otherwise felt too broad. The photographs used in this are divine and captured my attention much more.
Lori Sinsel Harris
Nov 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Catherine Dior, by no means as well known as her brother, fashion icon Christian Dior, was a hero of the French Resistance, not too many know this. This book is a non-fiction account of Catherine's involvement in the resistance, her arrest and subsequent torture at the hands of the Gestapo and her deportation to Ravensbruck concentration camp. It also tells of Catherine's post WWII life, of the person she became after the horrors she endured at the hands of the Nazis.
This book is well-researche
Jul 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Titled Miss Dior, this wonderfully compelling book is much more than simply a biography of Catherine Dior, but a wide-ranging and thoroughly researched work of history in which the author allows the reader to share some of her thoughts as she follows Catherine Dior’s journey whilst never allowing these thoughts to intrude too much. Parisian couture is part of the story, but the most riveting parts of the book follow Catherine Dior’s experiences as a concentration camp inmate. Graphic and harrowi ...more
Elisabeth (Bouquins & Books)
Miss Dior is supposed to be a biography of Catherine Dior, the little sister of designer Christian Dior. During the Occupation, she joined the Resistance. She was eventually arrested, tortured, and deported to Ravensbrück and other concentration camps. She survived the death march from a satellite camp of Buchenwald to Dresden. She returned to France in the summer of 1945, where she lived a quiet life until her death in 2008.

I say the book is "supposed" to be a biography because that is what is
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Captivating, descriptive, and well researched!

Miss Dior is the sincere, informative biography of the remarkable Caroline Dior, the youngest sister of renowned fashion designer Christian Dior who, after falling in love with a married resistance leader in 1941, spent the next three years reporting to British Intelligence on German operations until July 1944 when she was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Ravensbrück and other satellite concentration camps before returning to Paris, after survivin
Julie Rothenfluh
Jan 04, 2022 rated it liked it
I may be the wrong audience for this book. I thought it was going to be about Catherine Dior, particularly her role in the French Resistance during WWII. However, it seems Ms Dior, like many war and concentration camp survivors, never really talked about her experiences or her ordeal. Most of the information seems to come from official records, including her statements to officials after her return to Paris. Much of the experience is extrapolated from the writings of Catherine’s contemporaries w ...more
Lauren Kammerdiener
"That is, perhaps, Dior's tragedy, as well as the source of his greatness: a prince of light who knew the power of darkness; the tender brother who could not forget his sister's suffering and sacrifice, even as he swathed her in floral silks and the scent of love."

To be honest, I really only picked this up because I got a free proof of it from a bookshop event I volunteered at. Yet I was still very much interested in it, as I find the history of designer fashion rather fascinating but really
Oct 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
When one hears “Miss Dior”, you usually think of the perfume of the same name. And for good reason- it was named for the Miss Dior. However, the Miss Dior in question lead a fascinating life, and I am happy to see this Dior inspiration and muse finally in the spotlight.
Although I’m sharing this on Style File Friday and this is included with fashion history books, there is actually not an overwhelming amount of fashion history in Miss Dior. Much of the book is dedicated to Catherine’s time in Ra
Stephanie Fauquier
Feb 18, 2022 rated it did not like it
I was really excited to read this book - it was a definite letdown. It was way too long. I'm left after 400 pages still knowing very little to nothing about Catherine Dior. This book was part self-reflection by the author, and very light historical novel. The author included way too much self-reflection about her experience visiting some of the places that Catherine was detained, and other critical WW2 events. This book is not worth reading - it's way too long and nothing of substance comes from ...more
Jul 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Finished this in only a few days... the fastest I have ever read a non-fiction book. This book is massive, and jumps around a lot. Those only interested in the life of Catherine Dior will be disappointed, as she is only featured every few chapters. The truth is that Catherine Dior left very little of her life to be written about, and Picardie relies on her friends, family, and comrades to fill in her experiences, as well to flesh out the book. This at times took the book away from the proclaimed ...more
Joyce Hamel
Oct 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Too Little is Known of Catherine Dior

New revelations about World War II: The Holocaust and the French Resistance contains new horrors. This book is centered on the Christian Dior family with emphasis on the youngest, Catherine Dior, a member of the Resistance.

However, most of this book focused on the resolve of the Germans to severely torture, humiliate and kill the Jews and the French. The French, however, often collaborated with the Germans to save themselves, not necessarily their country.

Jun 25, 2022 rated it it was ok
When you think you will read a book about Catherine Dior upon picking this book, you are wrong. It is a book about the times in which Catherine lived, the atrocities of the Gestapo rule in Paris and the concentration camps, a book about fashion and its role in society during her lifetime and especially the position of Christian Dior. Yet Catherine features as much or as little as countless others and for me that was a disappointment.

Also the writing was disappointing, whether it was the translat
Nov 09, 2021 rated it liked it
***I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review

This was just not what I was expecting. The book seemed to focus more on the war and the political landscape, and then jumped to Christian's career where it spent the remainder of the time. I did thoroughly enjoy all of the pictures that were provided, though.
Donna McEachran
Dec 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Good historical book but a little misleading. I was really hoping for a thoroughly researched book on Catherine Dior whereas this is more a general history book on the women arrested by the Nazis.
Dec 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished reading a most beautiful (exquisite photographs and drawings), dreamy, tragic, and quintessentially Francophile book, which I fear will not get the readership it deserves in my little reading universe.
My head is still in the clouds, which is preventing a more coherent review. Many will pass on this because reading about the atrocities of war will be too much. But we should read these stories exactly so they are never forgotten. With Justine Picardie's skill, she was able to
Catherine Jeffrey
Mar 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022-books
A beautifully illustrated book which highlights Catherine Dior’s heroic role in the French resistance and the heavy price she paid. It is remarkable that she survived the war and it is gratifying to know she did enjoy a long life after the war.
Jul 09, 2022 rated it liked it
I thought this was going to be a "biography" of Catherine wasn't not really. The photos and sketches are beautiful in this book and in my opinion they make up for the fact that the book is not as advertised...."a biography" ...more
Sue Smith
Feb 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Most intriguing book how the occupation of France in WW2 affected different social groups. I learned so much of the depravity of the Nazis. Catherine Dior was an incredibly strong woman. I did not know her story.
Margaret Wittke
May 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
Drawing on the Dior archives and extensive research, Justine Picardie's Miss Dior is the long-overdue restoration of Catherine Dior's life. The siblings' stories are profoundly intertwined: in Occupied France, as Christian honed his couture skills, Catherine dedicated herself to the Resistance, ultimately being captured by the Gestapo and sent to Ravensbruck, the only Nazi camp solely for women. Seeking to trace Catherine's story as well as her influence on her brother, Picardie traveled to the ...more
Sep 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Miss Dior by Justine Picardie is a wonderful nonfiction and biography of the complex and fascinating life of Catherine Dior.

I knew a bit about the sister of the infamous designer, but getting to know more of the facets of Catherine, more of what she went through and experienced during WWII in occupied France, her involvement with the resistance, and her incarceration in a concentration camp really brought to life the brave, complex, and intriguing woman.

The author did a great job of setting th
Oct 06, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-group
Book club choice, but turned out to be a disappointment for me. It is not a biography about Catherine Dior, despite being marketed as so. It is more of a historical and political view of France and the resistance during WWII. In saying that, the book is kind of all over the place. It feels like the author wanted to tell a story about Catherine Dior, but failed to really uncover much about her, so packed out a very big book with stories of her famous brother Christian, war stories, fashion and an ...more
Oct 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Justine Picardie, Miss Dior, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 2021

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review.

Justine Picardie suggests that this is the story of Catherine Dior, a ghost who would not let her be free, and thus becoming the focus of the book, Miss Dior. Although there are gripping allusions to some of the turmoil and horror of the life Catherine Dior must have led as a member of the French Resistance, and prisoner in Ravensbruk; her intermittent app
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate Den
Jul 05, 2022 rated it really liked it
Justine Picardie's biography describes the extraordinary life of Catherine Dior, nearly forgotten and totally overshadowed by her more famous brother Christian and his fashion house. Likely, Catherine preferred to be practically anonymously.

Raised in the protective environment of a well-to-do French upper-middle-class family, here is a woman who managed to carve out a life on her own terms. Along with brother Christian and older siblings, Catherine grows up in a villa on Normandy coast. The vil
Paul Sutter
It is always interesting to get the story behind the story of someone’s life. In her book, Justine Picardie looks at the life of Catherine Dior, sister to the late great fashion designer Christian Dior. In fact, one of his more popular fragrances Miss Dior, was created in honor of his sister Catherine. Picardie does not hold anything back in this lengthy but illuminating work. A previous book written about Coco Chanel, is an illustration of the storytelling style and extensive research the autho ...more
Linda Hutchinson
Oct 12, 2021 rated it really liked it

Miss Dior by author Justine Picardie is an interesting read because the author has a very different way of telling a story about Catherine Dior, designer Christian Dior’s beloved sister and the inspiration for his signature fragrance entitled Miss Dior. When I selected this book to read, I thought I would be learning about Catherine Dior. However, this book is a more historical novel with many details about the first and second world wars and specifically about the behavior of the French
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Justine Picardie is a British novelist, fashion writer and biographer. She is the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar UK and Town & Country UK. Her 2010 biography of Coco Chanel (“Coco Chanel: The Legend & the Life”) was shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards.

Her eldest son is Jamie MacColl, the guitarist for Bombay Bicycle Club.

Ruth Picardie was her sister.

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125 likes · 57 comments
“she appears to be wearing her clothes simply to get on with life, rather than as a means to display her brother’s consummate artistry.” 0 likes
“But I have come to believe that Catherine was possessed of a rare grace and inner strength that would have protected her from the jostling fashion crowd, with their sharp” 0 likes
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