In 1947, Christian Dior launched the first collection of his own fashion house, it revolutionized fashion codes and femininity. Immediately dubbed the ‘New Look” by Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Carmel Snow, the “hourglass” figure and its extravagant demand for fabric, coming after the frugal years of the war created a furore. It met with the instant, dazzling success that made it the emblem of the decade and heralded a golden age of haute couture.
An exhibition at the Palais Galliera in Paris looks at the French fashion industry during the 1950s, when haute couture and ready to wear garments were leading the world in fashion and style.
Drawn from the museum’s extensive store of couturier collections there are more than 100 models and accessories tracing the evolution of fashion from 1947 to 1957, from the birth of the New Look to the advent of Yves Saint Laurent in the fashion capital of the world.
The list of names says it all. The old guard – Jacques Heim, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath and newcomers, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Griffe, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin.
The dominance of French fashion depended not only on the prestige of haute couture and names that spelled luxury, elegance and originality, but also on the profession’s willingness to make the revolutionary move into ready-to-wear.
The exhibition is based in the small and charming Palais Galliera museum in the 16th Arrondissement. The museum is dedicated to fashion and is home to the world’s leading collection of 18th Century dresses. There are also thousands of 19th, 20th and contemporary costumes, accessories, photographs, prints and drawings, haute couture and lingerie but the only collections that can be seen here are the temporary exhibitions, the rest of the exhibits are in storage due to their fragility
50s Fashion Paris ends November 02, 2014
Address: 10 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Paris 16e, 75116 Paris; Website: www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr