Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2019 Issue

Dressy Books (or Bookish Dresses)


Sylvie Facon photo.

Here is a creative use for your old books now that no one reads anymore, except, maybe, on an electronic device. Credit this original idea to French fashion designer Sylvie Facon. According to her website, Ms. Facon creates dresses “with all kinds of materials: porcelain, rattan, painted dresses, picture dresses, theme dresses... Dresses a little 'crazy' and amazing, a world of her own and so special.” To that understatement we can add one more – bookish dresses.


As you can see from the picture, Ms. Facon has incorporated books into her dress. Specifically, she uses their spines. She has used some very old, classic books here, even if her dress style is anything but that. Something old, something new. You can interpret this dress one of two ways. Either it expresses a great love for old books, or a willingness to slice them up for a totally unrelated purpose. However you interpret it, one thing is certain. You cannot call this young lady spineless.


If Ms. Facon is not as well known as some French designers it's because she creates specialty, one-of-a kind dresses rather than mass productions. Painted dresses do not flow off an assembly line. Her dresses are often designed with a particular person, their physical appearance and personality, in mind. Perhaps this was meant for a book collector.


Some may find Ms. Facon's dresses over-the-top. The incorporation of traditional artwork into dresses is not something one sees everyday. I am not much of an aficionado of fancy dresses and evening gowns, and yet I will admit to being mesmerized by her creations. They are, as she says, crazy and amazing. I am sure these are well out of my price range; probably cost more than my house. Then again, that can undoubtedly be said of many French dress designers, but rather than looking ridiculous, Ms. Facon's designs are beautiful. She truly is an artist. If your budget can accommodate a First Folio, it probably can manage one of these creations. Go for it. Ms. Facon's creativity goes way beyond what you will find from the standard trendy designer.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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