Dior’s “New Look”

Christian Dior began his career as a fashion designer at the age of 33. By 41, with a $500,000 investment from French textile millionaire Marcel Boussac backing his venture, the House of Dior was created. His first collection, designed for Spring 1947 and named “Corolle” after the flowers that inspired him, featured a drastic departure from the established “Chanel-esque” norm of women’s fashion designs.

 Dior chose a silouhette that was already being explored prior to WWII by designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga and Jacques Fath. However, it would be Dior and no one else that people thought of when seeing designs featuring slender shoulders, nipped waistlines, and voluminous skirts. Breaking away from the rationing of textiles during WWII, Dior created his gowns with sumptuous fabrics, using generous pleating details in his patterns that allowed many yards of fabric to be gathered into just one skirt.

 Some applauded his lavish and ladylike design aesthetic as a fresh new approach after decades of Chanel’s menswear-inspired, unstructured silouhettes, while others criticized his extravagent use of fabrics, as well as his reintroduction of the corset as a return to the binding discomfort of a bygone era in women’s fashion.

It was Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow who dubbed Dior’s collection as “the New Look,” and the moniker took hold. While Dior continued to come up with changing silouhettes and hemlines at a dizzying pace for the next few years of his career, the trend chasers bought voraciously to keep up with the freshest designs each season. However, it is his “New Look” that people remember as the catalyst of his stellar design career.

Published in: on September 21, 2009 at 7:35 am  Comments (1)  
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