In the post World War 2 era, there was an overwhelming yearning for security and conformity. Men emerged as the primary breadwinners. Women were mothers, wives, and homemakers. In spite of criticism, feminine silhouettes resurfaced. Corsets and crinolines re-emerged. Christian Dior was a low profile freelancer for Elsa Schiaparelli and Balenciaga. He seized the opportunity and created the now famous ‘New Look’. ‘New Look’ dresses had nipped waist lines, sloping shoulders, and full skirts.
‘I designed clothes for flower like women’, said Dior. He inherited a love of gardening from his mother. Blossoming flowers inspired his Corolle (ring of petals) collection. Deidaa takes a leaf out of Dior’s book. Local flora and fauna inspire Deidaa’s collection of Australia silk scarves and floral maxi dresses.
In ten short years, Dior became one of the most beloved couturiers of the world. He produced 70 collections in ten years. He died of a hear attack in 1957. Yves Saint Laurent took up the mantle of Dior after Christian Dior. In his later life, YSL developed his own aesthetic. Yet YSL inherited his love of couture and drama from his mentor. He acknowledged, ‘working with Dior was a miracle for me. My admiration knew no bounds. He has created a fashion house that was unique…. He was an extraordinary master, who taught me the fundamentals of my art. I owe a large part of my life to him… I will never forget the years spent by his side. Like Dior, Deidaa continues to nurture and mentor emerging designers.
Jacques Fath created similar silhouettes with a nipped waist, full skirt, and sloping shoulders. In later years, Vivienne Westwood and Gareth Pugh abstracted the Dior silhouette. Alexander Mcqueen used symbols and silhouettes from Dior.
John Galliano became the design director of Dior in 1996. His first collection for Dior coincided with the 50th anniversary of the House of Dior. Galliano rejuvenated the luxury brand.
Raf Simons followed Galliano. Simons gave Dior’s classic legacy a contemporary edge. He had a stellar collaboration with visual artist Sterling Ruby for Dior.
The Dior legacy continues, in the sculpted dresses, in the Lady Dior bags, in the signature perfumes, Poison and Miss Dior. Watch this space for a full review of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.
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Thank you milliner and member of #deidaateam, Valentina Dobric for the beautiful photograph of the hat.