Fashion, Style

The Fashion Alphabet


Today I can’t help but reflect on a look that was quite revolutionary for women. Some might disagree and say that it was a step back in terms of women’s style liberation but I feel that it was an iconic look that shaped the fashion of the era. Like most trends in life you are often on one or other side of the fence, you’re Team Edward or Team Jacob and it dates as far back as being either Team Chanel or Team Dior. Since I could never choose, I elected to admire traits of both and today I would like to share with everyone the look that swept the 1950’s.


Dior’s “New Look”

At the time, in the 1940’s Dior was starting to make waves as a designer to be recognized in small circles but it wasn’t until 1947 that he solidified his place in the fashion history books.

Dior launched his first fashion collection for Spring/Summer – the show was hosted at maison Dior, 30 Avenue Montaigne. The collection was originally called the “Corolle” range but was eternally labelled as the “New Look” after the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow exclaimed, “It’s such a New Look!”  This collection saw him blossom as a designer right through the 1950’s

The look was unlike anything that had been seen since even before the war. Dior’s collection had been funded by business man Marcel Boussac under the agreements that Dior make use of exorbitant amounts of fabric from Boussac’s existing textile business. This resulted in a collection of silhouettes that comprised of up to 20 yards of luxurious fabric. Silhouettes that were renowned for their small, cinched-in waists and a full skirts falling below mid-calf length, which accentuated the bust and hips. The ‘Bar’ suit was the embodiment of the entire collection – it was almost like an overnight success story.

The "Bar Suit" that swept women off their feet
The “Bar Suit” that swept women off their feet

The collection not only created a named for Dior but simultaneously re-established Paris as the capital of the fashion world after its decline caused by the war. It became the influence of other designers and gained Dior a multitude of clients all the way from European aristocrats to Hollywood stars.

Tragically Dior’s career was short lived after his untimely death in 1957. It is, however wonder to see that even to this day, the Dior house still pays homage to this monumental collection; it helped to shape the style of Dior and that of many women for years.

Below we see a garment from the original collection alongside a piece from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection, just to prove that the beauty and elegance has never been lost.

Kept today at the V&A Museum
Kept today at the V&A Museum
A modern take
A modern take

“Finally, everything that has been part of my life, whether I wanted it to or not, has expressed itself in my dresses.” 

~ Christian Dior


Share your thoughts and comments below!

Thanks VB xx

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  • You write incredibly well. Thank you for the inspiration!


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