Dior's career came at the fulcrum of the twentieth century. He successfully combined the historicism of the late-nineteenth-century Belle Epoque with the aesthetic and technical innovations of his own time. In Dior's works, what outwardly seems sheer romance and poetry is strengthened by structural underpinnings that demonstrate deep knowledge of craft. And while each collection is individualized even by name, the overall work created during the eleven years Dior built his art can be seen as a unit of interwoven development. From the inception of The New Look on February 12, 1947, until the designer's death in 1957, Dior was the definitive force in fashion. In addition, his corpus was to become an overriding influence on subsequent fashion. Authors Richard Martin and Harold Koda, curator and associate curator, respectively, of The Costume Institute, present that corpus chronologically, and they also consider each piece as an artistic attainment and the whole as an artistic enterprise. Dior is viewed through his personal aesthetic: attention is paid to his deliberate stylistic evolution, his historicism, and his characteristic style gestures, called "Diorisms". Thus, Dior is reconsidered as a designer of artistic conviction and cautious style. Without denying Dior his magic, the photographs and texts in this book show him as a designer of skilled system and intelligence. The suite of more than 150 photographs, made expressly for this volume and published here for the first time, document the greatest collection of Dior's work in the world, which resides in The Costume Institute.
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Foreword by Philippe de Montebello
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afternoon dress allusion anchored artist Balenciaga ball gown Black silk Black wool bodice body bust button Byron center-front Chanel chemise Christian Dior clients cloth cocktail dress collar construction Costume Institute couture created Cristobal Balenciaga cummerbund Dali David Kluger day dress decade decolletage decorative designer's dinner dress Dior dress Dior's Diorism draped drapery dress and detail effect embroidery ensemble fabric fall fall-winter fashion feminine folding garden garment Gift of Christian Harper's Bazaar hats Henry Rogers Benjamin hipline hips House of Worth jacket lace layer Look luxury menswear moire Navy-blue neckline passementerie pattern pieces Pink silk Pisanello pleats postwar princess seams scalloped seam Second Empire sequin embroidery sequins shape shoulder silhouette silk faille silk organza silk satin silk taffeta silk velvet skirt sleeve spring collection spring-summer 1953 strapless structure style suggests suit surface tailoring textile thal tion trim trompe velour waist waistline White silk wrap