Saturday, 20 September 2014

1950s Innovators: Dior and Givenchy


Christian Dior: Dior set the scene for the 1950s fashion world. On February 12th 1947 Dior sent out invitations to the showcase of his new collection and let loose a fashion sensation. The 'Corolle' collection (so-called after the delicate petals at a flowers centre) was luxurious, romantic and abundant in fabric. It held no attributes of wartime rationing or improvising and brought femininity back to wardrobes exhausted by the war. Dior wanted to "make elegant woman more beautiful and Beautiful woman more elegant" sighting that "Europe had enough of falling bombs, now it wants to set off fireworks". Dior himself started the celebrations with his new silhouette, sloping shoulders, narrow waists and full hips. His romantic feminine image was achieved with corsets called 'Waspies' and skirts stuffed with petticoats. His collections aimed to surprise and please inventing the A-Line silhouette with its triangle shape and the H-Line silhouette with its slim jacket-skirt combination. Dior's legacy includes the Coolie hat, Trapeze coat and the Hobble skirt. Even in todays fashion world Dior is synonymous with elegance and innovation.

Hubert de Givenchy:  Givenchy possessed a powerful understanding of fabric  and how to work it to his advantage. It was his mantra that, to make a successful dress the fabric must be handled with the utmost care. He d├ębuted his Parisian fashion house with a collection which included the Bettina blouse. Produced from raw cotton shirting, the blouse that was traditionally for couture fittings became a signature look for his career. Givenchy's clientele included Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy but his most successful relationship was with film and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn. Originally hoping to meet  the other 'Miss Hepburn'  -Katherine an unexpected relationship was born between Audrey and Givenchy when they met on the set of Sabrina in 1953. Hepburn felt 'It was though I was born to wear his clothes' and a fabulous fashion pairing began. Givenchy designed the timeless black sheath dress that the actress wore in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' as well as costumes for her role in 'Sabrina', 'Charade' and 'Funny Face'. Audrey Hepburn became his muse, exclusively wearing his designs both privately and professionally. Givenchy embodies the power of a great fashion partnership in the golden age of couture with his simple black sheath dress selling for $807,000 in 2006.

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