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Dior's – "New Look" and the Emergence of Post War Fashion

Curators’ Corner

Dior's – "New Look" and the Emergence of Post War Fashion

Austerity, a familiar sounding word for those up on current events, ruled the day during World War II. But like many trends, especially those born of necessity, austerity eventually give way to something else, and as is often the case, that something was in stark contrast to what came before. So in 1947, a year after its inception, Christian Dior’s couture house launched two lines which would revolutionize fashion, and marked a cultural shift from global war to the coveted nuclear family. These lines came to be known popularly as the “New Look”.

The elements of the “New Look”, full billowed skirts that fell just below the calf, narrow waists, and soft, distinctly feminine shoulders, required a significant amount of fabric to pull off. There was something of a backlash for what seemed like excess at a time when rationing was still widespread, especially in Europe.

But the desire to move past the woeful days of conflict and the austere worries of a world trying to rebuild was too great. For the next 15 years fashion embraced the lines and cuts of Dior’s style, and with it a femininity thought lost to the perils of war.