At the end of the Second World War, women are looking for feminity, elegance and chic. Christian Dior responds to this demand in 1947 with the “New look” (name given by Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow). The “New look” is characterised by soft shoulders, wasp-waisted (bonet corset) and hip-padded designs. The 40’s short skirt is replaced by a large full mid calf skirt. The “New look” is inspired of the mid-nineteenth century. Paris becomes the center of fashion.
The Bar suit (molded curves, a cinched waist, elevated bust and padded hips) and the Corolla dress (a tight bust and an oversize petticoat) are iconic outifts of the “New look”. In 1954, Dior presents the “H-line” (a silhouette relatively straight from the shoulders to the hips).
The swing dress
Corolla dress by Dior
Bar suit by Dior
H line dress
Dior designs in 1953
( wasp waist with full skirt), the shirtwaist dress
(a fitted button-down top ending at the waist and a full skirt), the wrap dress
and the bell shape dress are popular during the Fifties.
Women dress to please their husband like happy housewives.
Bell shape dresses
(flowers, plaid, polka dots…) are typical of the 1950s.
Velvet, tulle, silk and satin
Polka dots pattern
Striped dress worn by Nancy Berg
are popular fabrics in the 1950s. Cotton, wool and polyester
are also used.
The slim fitting pencil skirt
Satin evening dress by Adele Simpson, 1953
Cotton dress by Ruth Chagnon
Velvet dress by Balenciaga
Silk dress by Nina Ricci
becomes popular during the Fifties.
A pencil skirt worn by Marilyn Monroe
Some designers like Coco Chanel go against “the New look”
and propose the slim suit
(a boxy jacket with no collar and a straight skirt).
The claudine collar
Chanel slim suit
Jean Patou slim suit 1957
Slim suit 1953
is popular in the 50’s.
The Fifties swim suits :
Marilyn Monroe wearing a bikini
(especially Hollywood stars) are raised to level of fashion icons.
Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina
Marilyn Monroe in the movie “Gentlemen prefer blondes
Led by America, the Fifties sees the birth of the Ready-To-Wear.
The US War Production Board sponsorises a measurements survey of 100,000 women to standardize sizing for the garment industry. Henceforth, high end fashion is available to the general population and not only to the wealthy.
Fashion houses like Dior diversify their activities : perfume and fashion accessories (jewelry, bags, gloves, scarves, hats, heels…).
At the end of the fifties, the lines are looser
Long gloves signed Dior
: the sack dress
by Givenchy in 1957 and by Balenciaga, the trapeze dress
by Dior in 1958 and the Empire style dress
Sources : http://balises.bpi.fr/arts/les-annees-50–la-mode-en-france-1947-1957 ; http://www.marieclaire.fr/,les-looks-des-annees-50,706684.asp ; http://histoiredelamode.canalblog.com/ ; http://fiftiesweb.com/fashion/fashion-w/ ; http://latelierdecouture.com/histoire-mode/annees-50-new-look/ ; http://www.lefigaro.fr/ ; http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/81460 ; http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/ ; http://customrodder.forumactif.org/ ; http://www.thehouseoffoxy.com/1950s/a32 ; http://vintagefashionguild.org ; https://fr.pinterest.com/ ; http://www.puretrend.com/ and http://vintagedancer.com/