Dior: Inspiration

New Look Icons in the Designer's Couture Retrospective at the Pushkin Museum

Christian Dior's “New Look” has nipped the waists of movie stars, socialites and models since its introduction in 1947 at the French designer's first-ever runway show. The images above, from the couture retrospective Inspiration: Dior at Moscow’s Pushkin Museum, are sensational examples of the corset-like shape throughout the decades. "Fundamentally the 'New Look' is retro—traveling through time to give the present day a sensibility of the past with a modern point of view," explains the exhibition's curator, fashion historian Florence Müller. "It's a seductive vision of femininity," she adds. Through a combination of couture designs and artworks, Müller examines how nature, art and film influenced Dior and his successors. The original New Look suit exemplified Dior’s “Corolle” collection with its padded hips, sloping shoulders and voluminous skirt, intended to connote a flower blossoming, while the “En Huit” pencil-skirted version was embraced by Hollywood: It was worn by Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire and Marlene Dietrich, a frequent Dior customer, in Stage Fright. John Galliano produced several interpretations during his tenure, including a suit for the house’s 60th anniversary collection, which Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen wore to open the fall 2007 show. Müller, who  donned several couture gowns for the Pushkin show's inaugural celebrations, offers a first-hand testament to the timeless shape: "You feel transformed and suddenly very confident because your silhouette is redefined." 

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