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24-10-2006
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1905-1957 Christian Dior
Christian Dior's reputation as one of the most important couturiers of the twentieth century was launched in 1947 with his very first collection, in which he introduced the "New Look." Featuring rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and very full skirt, the New Look celebrated ultra-femininity and opulence in women's fashion. After years of military and civilian uniforms, sartorial restrictions and shortages, Dior offered not merely a new look but a new outlook.

Born and raised in Normandy, France, Dior moved with his parents to Paris when he was ten. After studying political science, he served in the military. His design career did not begin until 1935, when he returned to Paris and began selling sketches. The designer Robert Piguet hired him in 1938. During World War II, Dior served in the south of France, then returned again to Paris in 1941 and worked for Lucien Lelong at a much larger design house. In 1946, backed by textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac, he opened his own house.
Dior helped to restore a beleaguered postwar Paris as the capital of fashion. Each of his collections throughout this period had a theme. Spring 1947 was "Carolle" or "figure 8," a name that suggested the silhouette of the new look with its prominent shoulders, accentuated hips, and small waist. The spring 1953 collection, dubbed "Tulip," featured an abundance of floaty, flowery prints. Spring 1955's "A-line," with its undefined waist and smooth silhouette that widened over the hips and legs, resembled a capital "A." Some of Dior's designs simulated Second Empire and other historical styles, but he was also creating menswear, trompe-l'oeil detailing, and soft-to-hard juxtapositions, making them part of the modern wardrobe. By his final collections, Dior, feeling the need for a more limber silhouette and lifestyle, was designing chemises, narrow tunics, and sari-like wraps.
Together with his partner Jacques Rouet, Dior pioneered license agreements in the fashion business. By 1948, he had arranged lucrative licensing deals for fur, stockings, and perfumes, which not only generated revenue but also made him a household name. While the House of Dior is still a thriving business today, Dior's untimely death in 1957 left the fashion world without a great dictator of style. Christian Dior designed under his own name for only a decade, but his influence will be felt for many years to come.


Beth Duncuff Charleston
The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(from metmuseum.org)



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24-10-2006
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Don't tell me there wasn't a thread about him

Thank you for creating one. The man was a genious when it came to clothes. I adore New Look.

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"Bar" suit and jacket, spring/summer 1947
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk shantung
Gift of Mrs. John Chambers Hughes, 1958 (C.I.58.34.30)

Skirt, executed in 1969 from a 1947 design
Reproduction of a skirt designed by Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); reproduction of a skirt designed for Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Wool
Gift of Christian Dior, 1969 (C.I.69.40)



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"Chérie" dinner dress, spring/summer 1947
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk
Gift of Christian Dior, 1948 (C.I.48.13a,b)



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"Abandon" afternoon dress, fall/winter 1948–49
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk, cotton
Gift of Bettina Ballard, 1958 (C.I.58.7.8a,b)



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Dinner dress, fall/winter 1949–50
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Wool, silk
Gift of Rosamond Bernier, 1989 (1989.130.1a,b)



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"Pisanelle" cocktail ensemble, fall/winter 1949–50
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957)
Navy and blue silk satin with navy silk velvet
Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.9a–d)



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"Junon" dress, fall/winter 1949–50
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Cotton, sequins
Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.5a-d)



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"Partie Fine" dress, spring/summer 1951
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk, nylon, leather
Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.21a-c)



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My heart is melting

Thank you so much for these.

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timeless! I loove this one!! Still wearable even today!

Dinner dress, fall/winter 1949–50
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Wool, silk
Gift of Rosamond Bernier, 1989 (1989.130.1a,b)

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"La Cigale" dress, fall/winter 1952–53
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957)
Silver gray silk moiré
Gift of Irene Stone, in memory of her daughter, Mrs. Ethel S. Greene, 1959 (C.I.59.26.3a,b)



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I think all of this is still wearable, if only I'd get a hold of these clothes...I'm so dreamy now!

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Coat, spring/summer 1953
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk
Gift of Mrs. A. Moore Montgomery, 1957 (C.I.57.62.1a-c)



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"Cupola" cocktail dress, fall/winter 1953–54
Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957); Christian Dior Haute Couture (French, founded 1947)
Silk
Gift of Elizabeth Sander Foley, in memory of Elizabeth de Bordenave Sander, 2002 (2002.304a,b)



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