This is not a huge glossy coffee-table tome but a lovely size that fits neatly in your hands as you sit back and dive into its pages. The matt dust jacket and pages, while not to everyone's taste, makes a welcome change from all those super glossy books that are all style and no substance...for me this book has both.
When I opened it I had in my mind a list of dresses that just HAD to be in there if the book was to be of any real authority, and I'm pleased to say they were all in there. The dresses start with the 1915 pleated dresses by Fortuny, through the New Look of Dior in 1947, the mini dress of '65, the paper dress of `68 to "that" Versace dress modelled by Liz Hurley in 1994 ending with Hussein Chalayan's LED dress in 2007.
With each dress is a page of background, giving you information on the dress and its designer. The detail isn't overwhelming, there could be more, but this is for general readership and not necessarily for design or fashion students, although I think they would also benefit from this book.
There are no dresses missing that I thought should be there, although there are a couple that I personally thought were not really worthy of mention as changing the world. And as this foray into fashion finishes in 2007 there are some obvious omissions that could perhaps be added in future editions - I'm sure Lady Gaga will appear at some point.
Overall I'd say that this is a good book for those interested in seeing how fashion has progressed, and is informative for those wanting to know a little about the designs and their designers. It may even inspire some readers to look for further information and look more closely at fashion and how it changes the world .