Christian Dior Sketches

Posted : admin On 1/2/2022
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Lifestyle

Only two years after the end of World War II, the French couturier presented a collection that symbolized not only a departure from previous styles, but the beginning of a new society.

Although Dior recognised his talent immediately, Saint Laurent spent his first year at the House of Dior on mundane tasks, such as decorating the studio and designing accessories. Eventually, however, he was allowed to submit sketches for the couture collection; with every passing season, more of his sketches were accepted by Dior.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The birth of the icon

    On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior presented his debut haute couture collection in Paris. Immediately dubbed as the 'New Look,' its most prominent features included rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full, A-line skirt. With its clearly articulated feminine silhouette, the 'Bar' suit (picture) was one of the most recognized ensembles of the late 40s and early 50s.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Everybody wants to wear Dior

    Dior's New Look became instantly popular among the couture clientele, and the middle class followed quickly. Women in Europe and the US would go to salons and ask seamstresses to emulate Dior's style for a fraction of the couture price. To stay ahead of the game, Dior would change his style every year: His Fall 1948 collection emphasized the neckline and played with embroideries.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The more the better

    After World War II, the New Look intended to revive the lavish fashions of the 19th century and the French Belle Époque. In 1949, Dior made his point clear with a fall collection inspired by the Roman mythology for which he embellished dresses with ombréed petals, sequins, rhinestones, and pearls. The 'Junon' dress is still being copied by various dressmakers to this day.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The vertical line

    At the beginning of the 50s, Dior's style went through some degree of transformation. Increasingly inspired by men's tuxedos and by his numerous trips to the United States, he conceived a more streamlined and modest silhouette for his Spring 1950 collection - although some styles still maintained the characteristic New Look volumes.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Elaborate simplicity

    Newly found lightness and simplicity defined Dior's collections in 1951, even though nothing is ever really simple when it comes to haute couture. Dior might have replaced strict tailoring for fluid draping that year, but the neckline, for instance, would be constructed by an elaborate system of invisible wires to hold together its form

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The silver lining

    In contrast, Dior adopted a rather rigid style in 1952. The dresses had very sharp contours and grasped the body. The contradiction between the solid line and the romantic brocades, highlighted by the use of silver and gold threads, would create a literally breathtaking experience for the wearer as well as for the observer.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The Tulip line

    When Dior wasn’t working in his ateliers in Paris, he would come to his hometown of Granville, France, where he would dedicate his time to gardening. His enthusiasm for horticulture led to flower-inspired 1953 collections of mostly monochromatic looks with voluptuous dimensions that once again liberated the body.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Dior among socialites

    'H is for horrid or heavenly,' wrote one journalist about Dior's H-line silhouette, the controversial slim-fitting shape with a straight, narrow cut that falls to or just below the knee, which was introduced in his Spring 1954 collection. However, many wealthy American women came to Paris to buy Dior that year, so he balanced the act with glamorous dresses for debutantes and their mothers.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Looking forward

    A shift in style was apparent at Dior in the mid-50s. The daily wear became almost minimalist, inspired by men's wardrobe again, and the evening wear was composed with ease. He replaced rigorous understructures with almost architectonic, hand-shaped constructions, but that didn't mean his creations lost anything of their opulence.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    A new blood

    The change in Dior's work was, no doubt, caused by his new first assistant, the young Yves Saint Laurent, who was hired in 1955. Since then, Dior started to drift away from the New Look line. The cuts got boxier, ignoring the bust, waist, and the hips. As it is visible from this dress from 1956, nonetheless, the demand for the classic Dior pieces was still huge.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Young, fresh, and new

    On March 4, 1957, Christian Dior became the first couturier to appear on the cover of 'Time' magazine. In just 10 years, Dior grew into a leading fashion authority. After his sudden death the same year, Saint Laurent was named his successor, and despite his short stay, he injected the house with the young spirit, which allowed the brand a smooth transition to the Swinging Sixties.


Christian Dior Drawings

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The birth of the icon

    On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior presented his debut haute couture collection in Paris. Immediately dubbed as the 'New Look,' its most prominent features included rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full, A-line skirt. With its clearly articulated feminine silhouette, the 'Bar' suit (picture) was one of the most recognized ensembles of the late 40s and early 50s.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Everybody wants to wear Dior

    Dior's New Look became instantly popular among the couture clientele, and the middle class followed quickly. Women in Europe and the US would go to salons and ask seamstresses to emulate Dior's style for a fraction of the couture price. To stay ahead of the game, Dior would change his style every year: His Fall 1948 collection emphasized the neckline and played with embroideries.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The more the better

    After World War II, the New Look intended to revive the lavish fashions of the 19th century and the French Belle Époque. In 1949, Dior made his point clear with a fall collection inspired by the Roman mythology for which he embellished dresses with ombréed petals, sequins, rhinestones, and pearls. The 'Junon' dress is still being copied by various dressmakers to this day.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The vertical line

    At the beginning of the 50s, Dior's style went through some degree of transformation. Increasingly inspired by men's tuxedos and by his numerous trips to the United States, he conceived a more streamlined and modest silhouette for his Spring 1950 collection - although some styles still maintained the characteristic New Look volumes.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Elaborate simplicity

    Newly found lightness and simplicity defined Dior's collections in 1951, even though nothing is ever really simple when it comes to haute couture. Dior might have replaced strict tailoring for fluid draping that year, but the neckline, for instance, would be constructed by an elaborate system of invisible wires to hold together its form

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The silver lining

    In contrast, Dior adopted a rather rigid style in 1952. The dresses had very sharp contours and grasped the body. The contradiction between the solid line and the romantic brocades, highlighted by the use of silver and gold threads, would create a literally breathtaking experience for the wearer as well as for the observer.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    The Tulip line

    When Dior wasn’t working in his ateliers in Paris, he would come to his hometown of Granville, France, where he would dedicate his time to gardening. His enthusiasm for horticulture led to flower-inspired 1953 collections of mostly monochromatic looks with voluptuous dimensions that once again liberated the body.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Dior among socialites

    'H is for horrid or heavenly,' wrote one journalist about Dior's H-line silhouette, the controversial slim-fitting shape with a straight, narrow cut that falls to or just below the knee, which was introduced in his Spring 1954 collection. However, many wealthy American women came to Paris to buy Dior that year, so he balanced the act with glamorous dresses for debutantes and their mothers.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Looking forward

    A shift in style was apparent at Dior in the mid-50s. The daily wear became almost minimalist, inspired by men's wardrobe again, and the evening wear was composed with ease. He replaced rigorous understructures with almost architectonic, hand-shaped constructions, but that didn't mean his creations lost anything of their opulence.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    A new blood

    The change in Dior's work was, no doubt, caused by his new first assistant, the young Yves Saint Laurent, who was hired in 1955. Since then, Dior started to drift away from the New Look line. The cuts got boxier, ignoring the bust, waist, and the hips. As it is visible from this dress from 1956, nonetheless, the demand for the classic Dior pieces was still huge.

  • The evolution of Christian Dior's revolutionary New Look

    Young, fresh, and new

    On March 4, 1957, Christian Dior became the first couturier to appear on the cover of 'Time' magazine. In just 10 years, Dior grew into a leading fashion authority. After his sudden death the same year, Saint Laurent was named his successor, and despite his short stay, he injected the house with the young spirit, which allowed the brand a smooth transition to the Swinging Sixties.


'It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!' Carmel Snow, the former editor-in-chief of the American edition of 'Harper's Bazaar,' said these words after Dior's debut fashion show in Paris, on February 12, 1947. And the legend was born.

After the war period of utilitarian attires and vestiary austerity, perhaps nothing felt newer than Dior's vision. His first collection rejected the modern course of dressing established in the 1920s and 30s, which intended to liberate women from the restrictive sculptural volumes and corsets of early 20th-century fashion. Instead, he presented an image of radical femininity, achieved by tight-fitting jackets with padded hips, petite waists, and A-line skirts.

Christian dior sketch notebook

Dior became the new star of the Parisian haute couture scene and almost instantly transformed the wardrobe of the contemporary woman. The 'New Look,' the name by which Dior's style eventually went down in history, appealed strongly to the nostalgic mood of the post-war society.

Dior didn't want to create everyday clothes for the pragmatic woman of the fast-moving century but rather sell a dream of the good old days, when women could afford to be extravagant and deliberately glamorous. The New Look was a rediscovery of prosperity, and women across generations and social classes adopted it happily.

Feminists protested against it

Not everybody was thrilled by the hip padding, draperies, pleats, embellishments, and other exaggerations proposed by Dior, however. Those were, in fact, regressive ideas, and many criticized Dior righteously for taking away women's newly attained independence by lacing them up in corsets and making them wear long skirts again.

'We abhor dresses to the floor! Women, join the fight for freedom in the manner of dress!' said the banners of the Little-Below-the-Knee Club who staged a protest against the New Look in Chicago.

Original Christian Dior Sketches

American fashion designers, who embraced modest, sleek silhouettes and whose business was blossoming during the war, were also similarly appalled by Dior's design. Coco Chanel, the star of the pre-war fashion, even mockingly remarked that 'Dior doesn't dress women, he upholsters them!'

Christian Dior placing a dress on US actress Jane Russell, in 1954

Fireworks to replace bombs

'What was heralded as a new style was merely the genuine, natural expression of the kind of fashion I wanted to see. It just so happened that my personal inclinations coincided with the general mood for the times and thus became the fashion watchword. It was as if Europe had tired of dropping bombs and now wanted to let off a few fireworks,' wrote once Dior.

Sociologists and historians who've analyzed the first post-World War II years agree. The long hems and petticoats made of yards of fabric were a sign of the end of the governmental restrictions on materials, while the comeback of corsets signalized the return of women from offices, hospitals, and munitions factories back to homes.

Christian Dior Sketchbook

Christian Dior Sketches

In the 30s, women of the middle and upper class would basically wear the same attires due to the Great Depression. In contrast, after World War II, Dior's exclusive, lavish costumes offered a symbol of the new, divided society.

Christian Dior's untimely death in 1957 heralded a different era, one that was obsessed with youth rebellion rather than bourgeois hauteur. By the early 60s, the New Look almost vanished from the collection of the house of Dior and his epigones. Its revival came in the 90s, however, when a wave of young fashion designers decided to deconstruct fashion history and appropriate it for their times.

Nowadays, the New Look once again reigns on the runway: Thom Browne, Miuccia Prada, or J. W. Anderson are among the many names who have recently updated Dior's signature style for the early 21st century.

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