24 January 2012

the NEW New Look

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Last week Sarah Burton unveiled her Pre-Fall Collection for ALEXANDER MCQUEEN. The details are pure Couture. As in the startling New Look from Christian Dior's first ever collection. Dior cinched the waist, softened shoulders and gave the ladies full skirts-very full skirts. Feminine. Romantic. Pretty.



Remember this was a war weary sartorial world.

Along with this New Look, women were ready to embrace the same femininity and softness in their interiors. Dior's New Look would hold sway through the decade and some of the most beautifully photographed women like Babe Paley became Swans. She would dress so well she was inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame in 1958.  The patrician Marella Agnelli was Truman Capote's youngest & only European swan. Agnelli was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1963.These two Swans were referred to by Capote as "Numero Uno"-Babe Paley and "European Numero Uno"- Marella Agnelli.





“a gathering of swans, an aloof armada . . . their feathers floating away over the water like the trailing hems of snowy ball-gowns”  from the 19th century journal of Patrick Conway- that prompted Capote's naming of the Swans.

Capote would elaborate in detail on his swans in photographer Richard Avedon’s book Observations.
The most elegant and memorable interiors of the decade were not Of the decade- No, No-but of another era defined by elegance and romance- the Watteau painting,  the curves of a Louis XV fauteuil. When they did up their rooms however they looked for comfort and light-in this they differed from these more formal Versailles interiors.





Today- Lifestyles don't adapt nearly so well to Dior's New Look. What can we take away from Its idea?  Certainly how we live as much as how we dress is important.
Suggestion-Pare down some of the wacky 50's decor in rooms-add the comfortable fauteuil in an oversize check, a Indiennes print. Take cues from Billy Baldwin's decoration of the Paley apartments at the St. Regis. Refine.




Enter Bill Gaytten with his Spring Couture Collection for CHRISTIAN DIOR that is pure DIOR, & isn't that Appropriate? The beauty of the workroom as seem in The Day Before Dior- by Stephanie LaCava with photographs by Greg Kessler from T Magazine here




Voilà




Beautiful. Feminine. Is there something in the air besides Spring? Women are ready for the breezy prettiness of full skirts. Sheer sleeves and gloves- Yes please to gloves. No collection exhibits that femininity more than Christian Dior's Couture Collection for Spring & Summer in 1957 & no photograph captures that collection more than Cecil Beaton's ladder of  preening mannequins in an elegant ballroom of gilded chairs- and Yes, the uber- sophisticated freshness of a lacquered Louis XV settee in Soigné  grey.



& the SWANS- were still gliding over the ice skimmed lake of Narcissism.







Read the Met's Costume Institute Christian Dior Fashion Bio here
more Marella Agnelli here STYLE.com
more Babe Paley here VOGUE.com

photographs: the New Look silhouette 1947, Babe Paley photograph by Erwin Blumenfeld  from Vogue.com (sited above), Dior fashion in the French Room, & from the collection of images- from the pages of Vogue- Dior ads and drawings from Rene Gruau, Alexander McQueen's Pre-Fall Collection from Vogue.com here,  & the interiors of P Gaye Tapp, Vere Grenney, Billy Baldwin and Jansen and Sister Parish, the bedroom of Marella Agnelli, Turin Italy. portraits of Babe Paley and Marella Agnelli by Richard Avedon.
& 1,2-photographs by Greg Kessler. 3 -photograph by Pascal Le Segreta
photographs: The Spring 2012 Colletion of DIOR,  Cecil Beaton's photograph of Christian Dior 1957 Spring Collection, CZ Guest New Year's Eve 1956. image collection 2-Cecil Beaton's photograph of Christian Dior 1957 Spring Collection, Vogue.com Christian Dior Spring  2012 Couture

30 comments:

  1. Gaye,
    You amaze me.
    What a post, as most of yours are!
    HOW do you find all of this eye candy? And I've never heard of most of the people you write about.

    Have you joined Vogue's new archive? I was bummed about the price.

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    1. Ann,Glad you like this- I have always loved the art of collage-just don't have enough time to do them often. I have not joined Vogue's archive-so tempting I agree.

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  2. Beautiful. A splendid post as breezy and as brilliant as spring! I adore the grey-check dress with stitched flowers in the last montage. I have a large Dior book - I will look at it again tomorrow. Wow Bill Gaytten! Lovely, pgt!

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    1. Barbara, Yes the check is so pretty-Bill Gaytten-why don't they let him do this collection permanently? This collection is perfection!

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  3. Brilliant. Please give a little more detail re. photo with Goya painting. As always, I learn volumes from your posts. Thank you. Mary

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    Replies
    1. Mary, thanks. Here is some info in this link from the Met. http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000987
      The photograph itself is of CZ Guest New Years Eve 1956. I don't know who the photographer is.

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  4. Breezy, light parfaits make me yearn for spring!
    Love this post, PGT! Was thinking of Capote the other day!

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    1. Marilyn,We've very little winter weather here yet! Capote Swan's are always just a thought away. pgt

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  5. Ahhhh , delicious! Would love to get a chance ever to wear something like that! I am afraid it's not going to happen any time soon!
    But what eye candy!
    Thank you for your cool ride into the fashion world.

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  6. I know- lifestyle-lifestyle-but I do love the idea of it! I love the Dior large stitching on the dress and black suit.

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  7. Beautiful post on a spectacular collection at DIOR! A great sartorial break in our day. We are so excited to feature your personal stationery next Wednesday!

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    1. WA- thank you, don't we all need a break of some sort-thanks for taking yours Here. I will be looking for your post Weds

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  8. Replies
    1. Yes, and with gloves- I do wear hats some-practical though- rarely for SHOW. pgt

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  9. So interesting, and so beautiful. Thanks for the post

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  10. thanks much, I look forward to exploring your blog too-glad you like the post. pgt

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  11. Always a history lesson here & beautiful images to inspire. Thank you my friend!

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  12. Just an absolutely gorgeous collection...I feel as if I stepped back in time. I've been waiting for the elegance of Dior's era to sprinkle itself in ours...here's to the full skirt!
    Beautifully written Gaye...
    xo J~

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    1. I remember playing in some of my mother's full skirts, she still wore some-them the shirtwaist took hold. Thank you for stopping in and commenting. pgt

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  13. I was born in the wrong era, or maybe the wrong class, because I could dress like this often!

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    1. Yes- Era applies. The style was adopted by all at the time. My favorite thing is the gloves as accessory. pgt

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  14. I love the post, love the new look, but I find the black title lost in the darkness of the header photo. Perhaps it's my old eyes.

    An admirer.

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    1. Thank you kind Sir- I have struggled with using this image and the limitations of blogger-It is not your eyes I'm sure of that. I have changed it a couple of times. Your comment is welcome and I have done a little work on it- hoping to improve it. Let me know what you think. pgt

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  15. YES, YES and more YES!!! I know how much work those collages must take but there are FABULOUS - just beautiful.And totally agree with you and Barb - perhaps they'll consider letting Gaytten continue - he is brilliant!!

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  16. Beautifully chosen, presented and choreographed. Curtis

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