New Look  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The New Look was the name given to the women's clothing fashions introduced by Parisian fashion designer Christian Dior in the spring of 1947. This collection influenced fashion and other designers for over ten years. The signature shape – characterized by a mid-calf length full-skirt, large bust and small waist – was hugely popular after a short initial period of rejection. Dior also presented a tight-skirted silhouette. The skirt length for this silhouette was also mid-calf, while the neckline was very low. Both the full-skirted shape and the more fitted straight skirt were extremely popular with teenage girls during the 1950s, and they were especially suited for petite figures. Even so, the silhouette was widely considered flattering, even for older women, and especially for evening wear.

Large busts were also emphasized again, after being restrained since 1912, and the square masculine shoulder pads of the late 1930s and wartime 1940s fell from popularity, not to reappear for thirty years. The New Look was both womanly and sophisticated, as one can see reflected in the movies of the era. Ava Gardner was one of the actresses of that time who wore the New Look with great effect.

Fine dressmaking made a comeback during this time, as the construction of the desired shapes needed a fine designer's hand and skilled dressmakers. The details seen in these New Look fashions seem very fine when compared with the results of cheap manufacturing and unflattering one-pattern-fits-all design.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "New Look" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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