When it comes to fashion, every era has its key looks that that particular decade was remembered for. Whether it’s the straight, unstructured silhouettes of the 1920s, figure flattering bias cut styles of the 30s or the wasp waisted full skirt styles of the 50s, there is an iconic silhouette that is representative of every era.
But actually, that sort of over simplifies things, as no decade really had one style that was the same from the start of the decade to the end. Fashion really doesn’t work that way, as evidenced even by modern day trends. At the end of one decade there are often popular styles that carry over for a time into the next decade. And one of the most enduring silhouettes that comes to mind is what is termed the “New Look”, popularized by Christian Dior in February of 1947.
Read more about this look that revolutionized the fashion industry.
Though 1940s fashion is often thought of as more austere and tailored because of World War 2 and the resultant fabric rationing, many people don’t realize that not long after the war ended in 1945, an innovative new designer named Christian Dior decided women were ready for a change after all those years of conserving. So he started designing dresses utilizing yards and yards of fabric, with voluminous skirts that had longer hemlines and tight bodices that emphasized the waist. And this became such a popular silhouette that you’ll see it in dress styles from the end of the 1940s, right through the 1950s and even into the middle of the 1960s.
Below are some examples of cocktail and evening fashions as shown in the 1947 December Holiday Edition of Harper’s Bazaar. As you can see, Dior’s “New Look”, introduced earlier that year, did not take long to catch on with other designers.
Dior’s “Libellule” evening gown with full white tulle skirt, cascading green satin waist sash with clusters of roses. The name Libellule translated means dragonfly. The American Adaptation was available at Bergdorf Goodman for $295.00, which would equal $3150.00 today. So can you imagine what the original sold for?
I adore the design of this bodice, with its gathered sweetheart neckline, curved fabric fold that frames the bust and the ruched elbow length sleeves. Positively stunning!
Black chantilly lace in the lovely illusion bodice and encircling that gorgeous full skirt! Love the idea of accenting the waist with a couple of roses.
White satin gown with fringe by Jacques Heim.
Blue fine wool flannel hostess gown by Nini Turcotte. Can you imagine looking this glamorous when entertaining your guests at a dinner party in your home?
Red silk taffeta dress with fur trim by Norman Norell.
White satin and heavy white cotton Venetian lace gown by Maggy Rouff.
All these are dresses are beautiful, ladylike and timeless. I don’t know about you, but I would have no problem wearing any one of them to a dressy holiday party of fancy dress ball, were I fortunate enough to own one of them!!!
Have a glamorous day!