Without a doubt, the two dresses featured above left in my blog heading were inspired by the designs of Christian Dior. This return to the feminine silhouette was led by Mr. Dior, starting in 1947, and it continues to influence fashion to this day. In 1954, he published a small book entitled The Little Dictionary of Fashion, which was reprinted in 2007 by Abrams (and available at Amazon.).
It is really a combination of fashion and sewing terms, accompanied by his philosophy of life. Here is a sampling of topics:
Bodices: “… the most important part of any garment….”
Cosmetics: “… play a very big part in the secret of beauty, but they mustn’t show…”
Emphasis: “If you have a particularly outstanding feature it is always a good thing to emphasize it…. The whole of fashion is emphasis – emphasis on woman’s loveliness.” [I think this is very sweet!]
Handbags: “ A very important accessory and used with not enough care by too many women.”
Jackets: “…must always be worn with a slim skirt…”
Key to Good Dressing: “There is no key… but simplicity, grooming and good taste – [are] the three fundamentals of fashion…”
Materials: “You can never take too much care of the materials you choose to make a dress…” [In this entry, he seems to be addressing the home sewer!]
Pockets: “… pockets are very useful to help you to do something with your hands if you are embarrassed and don’t know what to do with them.”
The Way You Walk: “… can make or mar your clothes – cultivate gracefulness.”
And my favorite:
Zest: “…You have to live with zest — and that is the secret of beauty and fashion, too.”
Although Mr. Dior died in 1957 at the height of his career, his eponymous couture house has, as everyone knows, continued over the years under the direction of many different artistic directors. Just this week the newest Creative Director for the House of Dior was announced. Although I am a casual follower of current fashion (mostly to see how the vintage looks influence today’s looks), I was pleased to see that Mr. Raf Simons has been selected to head Dior. I thought the designs he did for Jil Sander over the past few years were among the most flattering that have appeared on the runway. His selection is detailed in a fascinating article by Christina Passariello, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, April 10, page B4. (By the way, The Wall Street Journal has terrific fashion coverage and advice, specifically in the Thursday and Weekend editions, as well as other times.)
Mr. Simons’ first designs for Dior will debut in July. I wonder if he is now asking himself “What would Christian Dior do?”
6 responses to “What would Christian Dior do?”
What a fun little book – I need to add it to my wishlist!
Have you ever seen the movie Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris with Angela Lansbury?
I have not seen the movie, but I have heard of it, as well as the book on which it is based. Both should be added to my “to do for fun” list!
I just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for a “Very Inspiring Blogger” Award. for your sewing history lessons. See my blog for details. (handmadebyclairebear.com/2012/04/15/i-am-a-very-inspiring-blogger)
Claire, I am so touched and honored by your nomination – thank you so much! Isn’t it interesting how sewing is such a universal language – and the “sewing community” is such a supportive group? We are so fortunate to share this creative interest!
It is. I don’t have many sewing friends locally, so I rely on my online sewing community for info, advice and feedback.
Thanks for writing thiis