To of that gown can never be forgotten, one

To what extent has Christian Dior influenced the modern fashion designers?  

To what extent has Christian Dior influenced the modern fashion designers?

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“Christian Dior was so famous at the time; it seemed as if he wasn’t a man but an institution.”

Table of contents:
Cover page……………………………………………………………………………………….i
Title page………………………………………………………………………………………..ii
Epigraph…………………………………………………………………………………………iii
Table of contents…………………………………………………………………………………iv
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………1
Christian Dior -Achievements and works……………………………………………………….2-3
The new look-bar suit……………………………………………………………………………4-
The Junon and The Venus……………………………………………………………………….4
Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………….5
Works cited………………………………………………………………………………………6
Image credits……………………………………………………………………………………7

Introduction 

To what extent has Christian Dior’s works and designs influenced the modern fashion designers? This was the question the formed in my head after looking at one of Miley Cyrus’s dress she wore on the red carpet. It was very similar to Christian Dior’s dress its called the Junon evening gown. The unique, absolutely stunning pattern of that gown can never be forgotten, one can clearly see the passion with which Christian Dior has styled it. By looking at the dress and its style, I instantly developed a deep curiosity in Dior’s work and his style of working and wanted to explore and gain an understanding of his work and his influence on today’s fashion designers. I wanted to know more about his style of designing clothes and if there are any fashion designers who made something inspired by Dior. What made Dior’s dresses so unique and who all are inspired by him?
This essay allows me to critically analyse the works of not only Christian Dior but also of other modern designers who have been influenced by him. 
A range of sources were used in my research, both primary and secondary. Primary research includes my personal experienced, visit to a museum in France. And secondary resources include various books, magazines, catalogues, and internet sources. I referred to only well established and official websites to make sure that my pictures were reliable and of good quality. 
After a detailed research on the similarities of works of the modern fashion designers and the “most authoritative figure in the world of fashion” I came to a conclusion that the influences that christian Dior has on today’s fashion designers are immeasurable. The works of Christian Dior are like a foundation on which the modern contemporary fashion designers build on. 

                                                                                                                                    Word count: 296
Christian Dior

Alexandra Palmer once said, “If a woman is not dressed in (Christian) Dior then she is dressed in a style influenced by Dior.” 
Christian Dior’s style transcends time and takes the world of fashion into a new dimension. 
As per author Marie-French Pochna, French poet Jean Cocteau anticipated in Christian Dior’s name a unique destiny: “that magic name made up of god and gold”, in French meaning ‘god’, and ‘or’, signifying gold, merging together to create ‘Dior’. Born on 21 January 1905 in Granville, on the coastline town of Normandy, France there was no sign that Christian Dior would seek a profession in fashion. Christian Dior came from a background of a wealthy family of bourgeois industrialists where his folks had desires for him turning into a representative in other words, diplomacy. Although he was lean towards fine arts and architecture, his father, Maurice Dior wanted him to study at the Ecole des Sciences Politique in Paris. (Pochna, Fashion Memoir: Dior 6)  

After graduation, Dior open a small art gallery with his associate Jaques Bonjean. They exhibited the works of some greatest notable artists of the 20th century which included Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse and Max Jacob. Dior named many of this creations after prominent artists such as ‘Rob de Barque’ (Figure 2). We can point out the similarities between Barques’s cubic style and Dior’s creation. There is a connection between the simplicity of the geometric lines and shapes of the garment to cubism.   

 

Later when this beloved mother and brother died Dior closed his gallery and started sketching and selling his design to the fashion houses, suggested by one of his friends. His luck came when Dior was eventually employed by Robert Piguet and later by Lucien Lelong. This marked the beginning of his career.  
 The New Look- ‘Bar’ Suit

The New Look originally known as ‘Corolle’ or ‘Huit’ is one of the most famous collections of Christian Dior line in the summer/spring of 1947. Its whirling full skirts of maximum circumferences which blew outwards like a corolla of a flower, nipped-in waists and fit bodices, flounce and style, unashamed femininity. Harper’s Bazaar the editor in Chief at that time called the summer collection ‘a revolution’ (Sinclair 32) which then was translated and came to be known as the ‘New Look'(Christian Dior: the magic of fashion 16). A look of such simplicity that got ” everyone to the edges of their seats.” (Sinclair 26).    
 Dior’s two piece suit consists of a tight fit jacket emphasising the wasp-waist and padded hips made of Silk shantung. The suit and fastened with five buttons and sloping shoulders. This suit was “intended for late-afternoon cocktail hours in the bar of hotel grands.” (Dior mag) and hence its name came to be known as ‘Bar’ suit. This work of Dior emphasised on the soft curses of the filled busts, narrow waist lines and long calf length skirt which exaggerated the shapes of the female frame and gave the suit a very feminine touch. 
Several years after, Louis Vuitton’s Autumn 2009 (Figure 5) military inspired trend designed by Marc Jacobs was almost like the replica of Dior’s New Look. Corsetes balconettes and decolletages were blended with the fitted suit jackets and corolla calf length skirts of the classic New Look. 
The matte, muted tones and wasp waists with full midi skirts aroused nostalgia of the Parisian atmosphere. But the model’s sleek hairstyles passes on a feeling of the present.      
The next indication that there was something vaguely familiar was the sophisticated bow fronted  pumps with bar with block heels. 

 Unlike Louis Vuitton, Giambattista Valli is more romantic and subtle with his spring 2009 ready to wear collection. His colour pallet includes classic black, pastels and whites with high waist skirts and tightly placed layers of petticoats (Figure 7).  Instead of collared bar suits with padded shoulders, Valli has transformed Christian Dior’s New Look into one of his own New Look New style. Along with a one piece dress Valli has made his collection look different by adding small bows lining up till the torso, or added clusters of flowers on the shoulder and waist blossoming outwards. These little elements have helped Dior’s classic New Look transform into Valli’s New Look.       

By a similar demonstration, Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen’s designer launched McQ by Alexander McQueen collection at the autumn 2012 London Fashion Week which seems to be somewhat similar to the ‘New Look’ by Christian Dior in its silhouette. It has the same bar jacket Suits with skirts swirling at the hips, it has the nipped-in waists and the face of a female contour highlighted with wide, heavy belts enhancing the narrow waist line of a female body (Figure 8). The skirts are exaggerated with the fullness of layers of tulle ballerins. In this collection Sarah Burton focuses on “a love story, a love of McQueen and a love of great 

British Style- from military coats to overblown ball gowns.” (Leitch, “London Fashion Week: McQ by Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2012”)    

Military style coats in black and forest green had cinched waists but wonderful volume, created by layers of tulle underneath. But there is a huge difference between McQueen and the New Look collection. The most noticeable is the use of velvet, wool and heavy decorative embroidery in Sarah Burton’s collection against the plain silk texture of Christian Dior’s ‘Bar’ suit. The hourglass  shape along with the military belts with a gold chains and  gravity defying hair was a signature element of the late Alexander McQueen. Therefore Sarah Burton being influenced by her predecessors is a debatable topic. Christian Dior’s famous silhouette laid a groundwork for the Modern contemporary artists to build upon. Many designers have showcased collections in which most of the designs reminiscent the design of the ‘New Look’. As quoted by John Galliano former head designer at the house of Dior, the “New Look is what is so Dior and 9inspires not only him but so many of his contemporaries and the next generation.” (Pochna, Christian Dior: The Bibliography 10). 
Instead of the classic suit jacket, a number of  designers have complimented Christian Dior’s silhouette by incorporating different elements in their designs. For example Dole’s Gabbano’s Kimono top, yellow jumper for Moschino Cheap and Chic by Rosella Jardini, Christian Lacroix’s high neck top or Melania Trump turned up in a Maria Grazia. This shows he development which is made possible by the revolutionary Christian Dior and hid New Look.    

The ‘Junon’ & The ‘Venus’

By 1949, a gown considered the most magnificent dresses Dior has ever designed is named after the Ancient Roman goddess Juno, who is commonly cows as the Queen of the Olympians. The magnificent skirt of ombre petals, like abstractions of an eyeless peacock feathers on a creamy net silk is one of the most desired designs in Christian Dior’s collection of Autumn/Winter 1949-1950 ( Metropolitan Museum of Art). The strapless shape with a thin line of fabric in the neck and waistline gives a slimming effect on the waist. The hem is heavily sequinned and encrusted with Iridescent blue, green and rust sequins (Figure 10). But they fade away as they travel up the Ombre petal of the layered skirt. The bird peacock is closely related to the patron goddess of Rome.  The lower portion happens to appear wider due to the slow graduation of beading and embroidery on the horizontal hemlines of the petals of the skirts. This makes the waist like look smaller and gives it an hours-glass silhouette. The when the silk net cloth catches the light it gives a sense of lightness to the gown and enhances the embroidery on the hem making it shine.   
 
It is just reasonable to contend that Miley Cyrus wanted to accomplish the goddess like look on that of the ‘Junon’ as she walked the the Red Carpet of the 81st Academy Awards. Zuhair Murad designed this gown for his Le Bal des Serienes Couture 2009 collection. This gown is almost the exact same replica of Christian Dior’s masterpiece. The heavy embroidery made of beads and sequences, the ombre petals and the hourglass shaped silhouette is one of the many similarities  between the ‘Junon’ by Dior and Murad’s creation except the deep V-shaped neck, back cut-out and the broad belt with a sea shell design on the waist. Murad gave his gown a unique touch by making the petals smaller in size and making the gown lighter, this also makes the lower portion of the gown not as wide as the Junon. As per Miley Cyrus, the gown “was inspired by Ariel in The Little Mermaid.” (Heyman, teen vogue cover girl Miley Cyrus). Later the Designer of the gown Zuhair Murad confessed that “it was a homage to Christian Dior” (Odell, Q&A; Zuhair Murad on dressing Miley Cyrus.) in an interview taken after few weeks. Murad’s publicist also states that he is, “constantly inspired by Christian Dior and this gown recreates the look of Dior using today’s technology” (Gornstein, “Why is Miley’s dress so familiar?”) .This proves the influence of Christian Dior on several modern fashion designers even severals years after he showcased his design. Due to non existent laws of copyright there has always been a thin line between inspiration and blatant copying. But on the other side imitation is a form of flattery, thus Zuhair Murad is a good example for the prevalent influence of Christian Dior on today’s modern designers.