Christian Dior 1940’s
– The New Look
Amy Dadamo
Bar Suit from the new look 1947
Y-line dress autumn & winter
EVENING DRESS –“The Flower Woman”
Evening Dress –“The Flower Woman”
Evening dress
The Bar Suit
The little black dress
Velvet coat
Y-line dress
Bar Suit with padded hips to emphasize a small waist
Ann Sainte-Marie, Christian Dior 1955
Christian Dior’s 1940s designs, later called the ‘New Look’ caused a major shift in
post-war II fashion. Dior’s designs helped rebuild France’s internationally
acclaimed fashion empire in the late forties. The 1947 collection was Dior’s first,
and was the foundation to his massive success. Fashion regularly suffers after a
war; fabric gets cheaper, silhouettes gets simpler etc. Yet this wasn’t at all the case
in Dior’s collection. Dior had a vision of large sleeves, billowing skirts and excessive
use of luxurious fabrics; you begin to see the start of 1950s shapes. This 1947
collection was made up of two lines ‘Corolle’ and ‘Huit’, the term ‘The New Look’
came from a Harpers Bazaar editor, Carmel Snow ,who exclaimed “it’s such a new
look!” After yards and yards of fabric being rationed for war efforts, this new
collection was a refreshing change. Dior’s collection included: very full-skirts, soft
shoulders, and extremely small waists. During the war, woman had to take the
men’s roles, since they were away. This caused women’s fashion to become more
masculine. Yet after the men all came home from war, women were encouraged
to act like women again; lots of them left the workplace and began going back to
the household duties. This impacted Dior’s collection, which was overall very
elegant and feminine. ‘The Bar Suit’ is one of the most iconic designs of the 1940s,
the suit displayed a woman’s body perfectly, yet the tailored jacket gave the look
structure. Dior knew exactly how to tailor to a woman’s body; he did more than
just pull fabric in at the waist. The collection shows emphasized bust and hips in
order to create that desired hourglass figure. The full-skirts even included padded
Dior did use a masculine edge in his designs – since it was popular, but he tried
to steer away from that and encourage women to bring back the beauty in their
clothing. During this time period there was also a very somber feeling, as the
Western world attempted to rebuild itself economically. This was reflected in this
collection, as it is very mature. Many people protested against Dior, because he
wasn’t rationing fabric. For example King George V forbade his daughters from
wearing ‘The New Look’. Yet once the war efforts came to an end, Dior made his
designs even more extravagant, particularly in his evening wear. Dior
experiments with layering mass quantities of fabric while still extenuating the
small waist. He often used to tulle in the skirts of his evening wear, especially in
his designs that he called ‘The Flower Woman.” They included strapless
necklines, which he had engineered a built in feather bonding to hold the dress
up. The tulle was trimmed with sparkly fabric, which created a flower-like look.
The New Look changed fashion forever; the ionic Bar Suit’s basic principles are
still seen on runways today. Along with the trademark evening dress, ‘The Flower
Woman’, this is now a staple style of wedding dress. Dior’s collection paved the
way for designers after him. Clothes were no longer just simple garments, but
single masterpieces which created a silhouette perfect for every woman.
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