It’s the end of another week, so it must be time for FRIDAY FASHION FACT! Some of the most popular pieces I post are the stereotypical 1950s dresses- structured bodices, cinched waists, and big, full skirts. This iconic, feminine style stems from the post-war New Look.
Those of you who know fashion well have probably heard of the New Look. You probably recognize the famous image of the Parisian model in the Dior skirt and blazer. Many people believe that Christian Dior was the first designer to create this shape, but that is not completely true. Due to extensive shortages of material during World War II, clothing became very tailored and fitted. As the war came to a close, though, designers took advantage of the newly available materials. Skirts began to get more full and shoulders more prominent, as they had been before the war.
In February 1947, just 3 months after launching his own company, Christian Dior showed his first line, “La Ligne Corolle,” at his shop in Paris. The collection took the changing fashions to the next level. The tailored bodices featured tiny waistlines, sloping shoulders, and prominent busts, while the skirts took the growing fullness to a new level, utilizing vast yardage of fabric. It was an instant success. The editor of Haper’s Bazaar, Carmen Snow, was a fan of Dior from his earlier days working for Rober Piguet, and so attended this first show. She proclaimed, “It’s quite a revelation, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!” A corespondent for Reuters, who was also in attendance, sent the phrase to her editor, and it was printed the following day. Less than 2 months later, the New Look was on the cover of Vogue, quickly followed by fashion magazines around the world. Throughout the next several years, Christian Dior continued to refine his style, further accentuating each feature. Of course, countless designers followed Dior’s lead, and the New Look silhouette became the standard.
The New Look is epitomized by the Bar Suit, a look from the Corolle collection. The black pleated skirt and cream morning jacket with built-in underpinnings and body-shapers were captured in a photograph by the legendary Willy Maywald. The image is arguably the most famous fashion photo in history.
Want to learn more about post-war fashion and the New Look? Check out these books:
Fashion in the 1940s, by Jayne Shrimpton
Inspiration Dior, by Florence Muller
Have a question about fashion history you want answered in the next FRIDAY FASHION FACT? Just click the ASK button at the top of the page!
Lil bro and I just finished watching our playthrough of Birth By Sleep, and here are some of the things he had to say about it:
- “It’s a Kingdom Hearts opening. Of course it doesn’t make sense.”
- “Hey, look, it’s Roxas!” Me: “No.”
- *Master Xehanort appears* “KILL HIM. I don’t know who he is, but kill him.”
- *MX on screen again* “Who is that guy, anyway?” Me:“That’s Master Xehanort. The original Nort.” “They should kill him.” Me: “Yeah, it’s kind of a ‘hate at first sight’ thing, isn’t it?”
- “Why does Terra have that one spike in his hair?”
- “I like their Latin names. Please tell me Terra has earth powers.”
- *Terra puts on his armor* “IT’S THE LINGERING WILL!!!!”
- “I like the Unversed. They look so much cooler than the Heartless.“
- “DO NOT FIND THE NORT. KILL THE NORT. KILL ALL THE NORTS.”
- “Does Terra ever become un-possessed?” Me: *hollow laughter*
- *Terra enters Disney Town* “Is this Mario Kart?”
- *Braig appears* “I think I know him… It’s the As If Guy!”
- “That guy has a tiny waist!” Me: “It’s Zack. And he’s just drawn in the style of the Hercules movie.” “But it’s so tiny! He can’t be real.” Me: *pulls up picture of Zack from Advent Children on my phone* “Hey, he looks normal there!” Me: “Yes, he looks perfectly normal in his own game. He just looks like that in Hercules style. It’s Disney animation; don’t expect it to be realistic.” (My lil bro’s crusade against tiny waistlines continues.)
- Me: *flails* Lil bro: *stares at me* “Do you really have to get that emotional?” “But it’s baby Zack! And baby Sora! And baby Riku! Yes! I do!”
- “HE GOT ENDS OF THE EARTH! HE GOT ENDS OF THE EARTH! IT’S THE 1 AND ½ SORA KEYBLADE!!!!”
- *MX appears on screen. “El creepo.”
- “So, whenever Terra goes to a world, things go wrong, but whenever Aqua goes to a world, she causes the happy ending. That’s not fair.”
- “Queen Minnie doesn’t walk. She floats. She’s like a hovercraft.”
- “What does Vanitas look like under his helmet? I bet he looks like Riku. He looks like Riku, doesn’t he?”
- “Wait, are you telling me that Vexen was normal at some point?!”
- “Aqua just leaves Ventus there??! By himself?!” Me: “Yeah, nobody in the KH world can parent responsibly.”
Critics are calling her tiny midsection “impossible” in another example of public outrage over unrealistic images of the female body
Scarlett Johansson’s fans can buy her as a super-secret agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel’s “Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier,” but they aren’t buying the tiny waistline she flaunts in a new poster for the upcoming film.
Backlash against the poster art, which features Johansson as The Black Widow with the body of a Barbie doll, began brewing online as soon as the image was released online Thursday, along with character posters of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers.
“You know there is no helping the world when even Scarlett-Joh’s already little waist is shopped to an impossible width in the ‘Cap’ posters,” one woman tweeted, echoing the sentiments of many others.
The issue of editing images of women to impossible standards of beauty has been particularly hot as of late.
An Elle magazine cover obscuring Melissa McCarthy’s body was criticized last November, while a time-lapse video demonstrating how Photoshop editing can completely change a woman’s body image went viral last fall.
Elle also received backlash earlier this month after releasing February’s “Women in Television” issue, which featured a photo of “Mindy Project” star Mindy Kaling cropped to focus on her appearance above the chest. Three other female TV stars featured on separate magazine covers for the same issue were pictured from above the knee.
Just last week, singer Nicki Minaj took to Instagram to protest the photoshopped cover of ESPN Magazine that she posed for with NBA star Kobe Bryant. A petition asking ESPN to stop retouching photos of celebrities and models that appear in the magazine was launched, as a result, and has garnered 3,200 signatures to date.
*I thought I read elsewhere that Melissa and Mindy liked their photos - but I definitely see how this issue can be problematic.