World War II was not only a time of hardship for everyone but it was also a time of sacrifice of fashion for most women. Because of the lack of money and supplies women were not able to dress up like they once were but in 1947 Christian Diors new look transformed fashion and womens views of it; he began using luxurious fabrics and lavish designs that women from the 1940s had longed for. 1950s fashion is often portrayed as poodle skirts and sweaters but that is really a pale imitation of Diors new look. The new look included a fitted top, a tiny waist and a wide flared skirt that came slightly below the knee. There were night and day versions of the new look, the evening look a little more extravagant than the day. The evening versions were ultra-glamorous and feminine and often used a boned strapless top. Christian Diors new look was worn by women who wanted to look more feminine and traditional; like their grandmothers before them. The new look dominated womens silhouettes of its time.
Diors most famous silhouette was the iconic Bar suit. It was comprised of a silk jacket with a sloped shoulder, large bust, cinched waist and large hip. The wool skirt was full and fell halfway down the calves. The Bar suit look was often paired with a wide brimmed hat, an umbrella, heels and short leather gloves.
Christian Diors A ensemble was another popular silhouette. The original dress was known for being seen at the wedding of Olivia de Havilland, an American film and stage actress. The suit dress was created with a tailored mens suit in mind but at the same time it was feminine and beautiful. The dress was crafted from wool and was most often worn with an A lined coat. Like the Bar suit, it was fitted on top and flared out on the bottom in an A shape (hence the name.) Accessories worn with it include long leather gloves, heeled shoes and a clutch handbag.
Evening gowns followed along the same lines as the Bar suit and A-line silhouette Dior popularized. They were fitted through the top half and had a wide skirt. The ancient Greek God, Venus, inspired Diors Junon evening gown of 1949. The dress is extremely detailed with beading and embroidery on ombre petals. It is made from cotton and silk and is a great representation of what Dior wanted for the post war women; femininity, luxury and style. Accessories that may have been worn with this look are stiletto heels, a beaded clutch and a short necklace.
Christian Diors look was made for the traditional woman who wanted elegance, luxury and style wrapped into one. We continue to see current day fashion designers use the silhouettes Dior popularized on runways and in editorials and he will always be one of the most influential fashion designers in the world.