Beautiful classic make up as presented by Dior at the Cruise fashion show.
Beautiful classic make up as presented by Dior at the Cruise fashion show.
“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!
Paris is the capital of world fashion and offers many attractions and iconic spots for those, who love Parisian style, elegance, vibe and… exquisite chocolates! Here, a subjective selections of places related to the history of Haute Couture, French perfumery, entertainment and some divine sweet delights!
There are several Ladurée tea rooms in Paris (on Champs Elysées for example), so make sure to find your nearest and do not fail to visit, if only once! French toasts are quite divine and make for a very decadent breakfast, so if in the need for some “spoil me time”, this is exactly the place! As a take out, try delicious (and world famous) macaroons, you may get dizzy looking at all the colors, just don’t get discouraged by the long waiting line, they are well worth it.
Le Maison Guerlain. 68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris.
The iconic store of Guerlain, one of the most iconic french perfumers as well as one of the most renowned in the world, is definitely worth a visit, if not for a purchase, at least for the experience.
Chanel. 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.
This is the mecca of Haute Couture, one of the world most renowned addresses, the iconic flag ship Chanel store, where collections were presented by Mademoiselle herself, watching the show from the heights of famous mirrored staircase.
Dior. 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris.
An iconic location associated with another great Couturier, Christian Dior. This is where the New Look was brought to life and for the first time presented to the world, the historical heart of the House of Dior.
Le Maison Angelina. 226 Rue de Rivoli, Paris.
Angelina is one of the most renowned tea rooms in Paris, elegant and sophisticated, making one feel like travels back in time are still possible, as it preserved an atmosphere of an old time glamour. It is not far from Louvre, so it is a perfect destination after visiting world famous art collection. Angelina offers a great selection of teas and coffees as well as sweet delights so tempting, that it is very hard to make a pick and select just one! For those with bigger appetite, there is a counter where one can purchase “to go”, not only cakes, but also teas, chocolates and other goods that make an excellent souvenirs.
Moulin Rouge. 82 Boulevard de Clichy, Paris.
Controversial and widely discussed cabaret all the way from its opening in 1889 and up till this day. Previously in the centre of attention for its loose morales and scandalous performances, currently for its commercial edge and Las Vegas nightclub esthetics. Whatever one may say about Moulin Rouge, it started a certain artistic movement, while being located at the notorious Montmartre, it was the centre of Parisian night life in the beginning of the XX Century, for these reason only it is worth a long subway ride.
It is hardly the first time that I write about Haute Couture, the true art in fashion. Couture can bring dream designs to life, representing the divine art of creation in fashion, uniting feminine beauty with artisan skills of cutters, seamstresses and embroiderers. Haute Couture is a vanishing world, available only to few who are privileged enough to participate in this spectacle of beauty and able to pay vast sums of money for those one of a kind creations.
As close as I had ever been to Haute Couture was in Paris, when I had a chance to see an exhibition of some magnificent Couture gowns. The impression was unforgettable, worth the long wait in front of Hôtel de Ville. I still recall some details, fabrics and colors, simply wonderful. And unless my life shifts completely and showers me with an unimaginable wealth, this is as near as I will ever get. Does it mean I should stop dreaming my Couture dreams? I do not think so! Beauty can be admired from afar, like paintings or sculptures, influencing viewer by its charm.
I like to watch Haute Couture fashion shows and see newest designs presented by my favorite fashion houses, and up till now, this one is my very favorite one, Christian Dior Spring Couture 2012 designed by Bill Gaytten. Even though it was featured some months back, I would like to present it once more, for the beauty so close to the atmosphere of the original New Look designs.
French fashion is related to all that is most exquisite and luxurious. French designers such as Coco Chanel or Christian Dior till this day influence our ideas about style and chic, Paris Fashion Week is probably the most important event in the world of fashion, not to mention Paris street style that is highly covered on various fashion sites and blogs all over the world. To dress like a Parisienne is to be elegant, classic and always feminine, no matter profession or age. Some icons of French fashion like Inès de La Fressange, Isabel Marant or Carine Roitfeldt are the best ambassadors of French chic. But what are the real and ultimate essentials of the parisian chic?
First and foremost – classic trench coat. It is no stereotype, I was truly surprised to see so many trench coats all over Paris, some more elaborate than others, but trench coat is a trench coat, and having one definitely brings you closer to the chic Parisienne look.
Ballet flats are another iconic piece, the best from Repetto Paris, reputable shop dressing ballerinas. The come in all colors, but still I would recommend classic black – one versatile pair is a very good beginning!
Going further with the essentials, one that cannot be forgotten – top in classic marine stripes in white and navy blue, the only one that really matters is from Petit Bateau, cult brand offering… children clothing, recently extended with an adult line.
To think about most iconic accessorizes – Hermés scarf, line of pearls and a practiced to perfection no make up look.
Last, but not least, a good deal of confidence and a special nonchalance that makes others think that you do not try too hard! All should look very natural, ostentation free, simply effortless. But who are we kidding here? this effortless look demands more effort than one is ever willing to admit!
There was a lot about Christian Dior in April, yet I see no reason why we can’t conclude with one more topic related to one of the greatest Couturiers! Dior is always a good idea, especially when one can read about fashion in Master’s own words.
This petite and handy booklet can be seen as a part of fashion studies for all who are drawn to ideas of 1950ties fashion, considering the New Look a testimonial to timeless femininity and sophistication. The Dictionary takes a reader on a journey through fashion from A to Z, starting at “Accent” and closing with “Zest”. Some entries may sound as retro as an “Afternoon Frock” or “Veils”, while others highly applicable like “Elegance”, “Lace” or “The Way you Walk”.
The book is beautifully illustrated, containing good selection of black and white photographs of Christian Dior’s designs. I would definitely recommend Dior’s “The Little Dictionary of Fashion” to all vintage loving readers, who like to dress up, wanting to experience the Zest of the New Look, feeling like a Dior model.
To linger a little bit longer in Carmel Snow’s era, a retrospective photo editorial published by LIFE magazine, featuring Christian Dior and the birth of the New Look. Revolutionary fashion that caused street riots, but for decades influenced world fashion.