• Nikita Shah

The New Look

Updated: Feb 4

World War II ended, and while the world was normalizing and settling into comfortable fashion- utilitarian attires and vestiary austerity; nothing felt newer than Dior's vision. His first collection rejected the modern course of dressing established in the 1920s and 30s, which intended to liberate women from the restrictive sculptural volumes and corsets of early 20th-century fashion. Instead, he presented an image of radical femininity, achieved by tight-fitting jackets with padded hips, petite waists, and A-line skirts.

Chérie by Dior at the Met Museum

In the 30s, women of the middle and upper class would basically wear the same attires due to the Great Depression. In contrast, after World War II, Dior's exclusive, lavish costumes offered a symbol of the new, divided society.

The New Look, 1953

After Dior's debut fashion show in Paris, on February 12, 1947 the former editor-in-chief of the American edition of Harper's Bazaar, Carmel Snow said "It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!" And so was born the ‘New Look’ which was not to create everyday clothes for the pragmatic woman of the fast-moving century but rather sell a dream of the good old days, when women could afford to be extravagant and deliberately glamorous.

Dior became the household name

Dior's "New Look" collection was indebted to the styles and body-shapers of the late 19th century. The Bar suit was considered the most iconic model in the collection, manifesting all the attributes of Dior's dramatic atavism.

The Bar Suit, Dior

The pandemic age and times that we are living in, are similar to post WWII, where we are lounging in our pajamas, prefer comfort over style. And while it is what it is, the need of the hour, we soon will need a 'new look' to move forward, or backwards.

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