“Dior. A New Look, A New Enterprise (1947 – 57).” is another fascinating book released by V&A Publishing. It presents Christian Dior and the House of Dior from different perspective, taking into consideration sociological, historical and economical factors related to the famous New Look and true revolution in fashion that it started. What makes this publication even more interesting are unique pictures presenting life of a couture house from the inside.
The author takes readers through the post war France, giving a good introduction of Haute Couture market just before and right after the war, focusing on historical and social backgrounds. Becoming familiar with the subject, one can better understand the social uproar and global discussion initiated by the New Look, which changed the model of femininity and brought back the “old days”, taking back achievements of various movements promoting gender equality as well as undermining fashions that liberated women from restrictions of corsets and crinolines, making them once again into beautiful and simpleminded mannequins, whose main purpose is to display wealth of their spouses or senior family members. Dashing woman dressed in Dior’s New Look was definitely fragile and flowerlike, stunningly chic, but also highly restricted in her movements and forced to strict diet, as hardly any woman was gifted by nature with measurements idolized by Dior.
Christian Dior was not only a visionary and talented designer, but also a meticulous businessman. Supported by well organized financial department as well as having implemented elements of market intelligence, the House of Dior was well run commercial enterprise, a forerunner for global corporations, with overseas offices in New York and London, numerous partnerships and license agreements. Throughout his career, Dior took every possible measure to ban illegal copies and stop wide spread practices of fashion espionage and copy right abuse. Considering that in 1958 the Dior couture house alone had an annual revenue of $ 8 million and was accounted for over 50% of total export of Haute Couture, he had a lot to protect!