Black 1940s/50s platter hat: eBay
Metal and enamel flower earrings: Save On Foods
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
Black vintage handbag: etsy seller A Vintage Revival
Fitted black velvet blazer: Smart Set
Brown stretch cotton fitted top: Sirens
Metal cheetah brooch: eBay
c. 1950s brown cotton gloves: Unknown (likely eBay)
1950s reproduction leopard print circle skirt: Big Beautiful Barbara Brown
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Photography by Tony Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
In all the history of all the fashions in the world there is, unquestionably, no other silhouette that I adore more than that present in Christian Dior's now phenomenally iconic New Look.
Incredibly feminine, sophisticated, and in stark contrast to most of the styles and cuts that had dominated the fashion world during the challenging, austerity filled days of WW2, the New Look, which was typified by a fitted blazer or dress bodice, full skirt, corseted (or otherwise very nipped) waist, hemline below the knees, and at times, even padding around the hips and backside to help further enhance the slenderness of the waist, was a culture shock at a time when most had grown incredibly accustomed to making the most out of the lest amount of fabric possible.
The ensemble that most people picture first when they think of the New Look is Dior's gorgeous Bar Suit (pictured below), which was, and still is, one of the most dashing and sublimely well tailored examples of women's clothing to emerge in the twentieth century. The Bar Suit, was just one of several designs that comprised Dior's February 1947 line, yet it has stood out over the past nearly seventy years as the most evocative and memorable from both that particular show and that immensely transitional period in fashion history.
It was famed Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow actually who is responsible for giving the world the term "New Look" to describe the silhouette and pieces that Dior had reintroduced into fashion (though fuller, more curvy fashions were reappearing in any kind of serious way for the first time since the Edwardian era during the the late 1930s, the war years quickly put an end to designers' ability to produce garments with such generous amounts of fabric). Upon seeing his now legendary 1947 Corolle line (corolee is the French word a corolla, aka, a circlet of flower petals), Snow was compelled to remark, "It's quite a revolution, dear Christian. Your dresses have such a new look!".
This comment was overheard by a correspondent for Reuters and the rest, as they say, is history. Though not all of the fashion loving public warmed to Dior's generous, voluptuous and very figure defining looks right off the bat, they set the stage for many of the silhouettes, designs, and trends that would dominate fashion until the mid-1950s in particular, with elements (such as especially full skirts) continuing to hold court until well into the early 1960s.
Aside from the opulence, glamour and beauty of the Bar Suit (which my immensely dear friend Joanna from Dividing Vintage Moments has both written about extensively and replicated with great skill herself) and the other styles that defined the New Look, I have long been drawn to them because they usually work exceptionally well for those like myself who happen to have had an hourglass figure bestowed on them by Mother Nature.
The ensemble here today is not intended to reproduce a Bar Suit or any of the exact looks from Dior's Corolee line to a tee. Not by a long shot. It takes some styling cues from the Bar Suit, while also calling into play a pattern that we often associate with the following decade (the 50s) in particular: leopard print. It is, as objectively everything we wear should ideally be, me through and through.
The full skirt, the fitted blazer, the nipped in waist, the marvelous pancake/platter hat, the classic palette of neutral hues and black, the way each piece harmonizes which each other - it all adds up to the kind of look that I could, unquestionably and very happily, wear every single day of my life.
On this particular afternoon, we were over at City Park (aka, Waterfront Park; though the two are technically slightly different sections of the same general area along Okanagan Lake) in Kelowna, taking snaps in pale sunlight and unwinding after a long week. Though there were plenty of fellow park goers in the vicinity, by moving around to various spots, we were able to get in plenty of photos with unencumbered backgrounds and highlight this outfit in a tunnel, on a walking bath, on the sand, and against a large tree trunk.
Most of us who adore vintage fashion are constantly looking at images of yesteryear styles, be they in book, magazines, movies, on social media (especially Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram), old photographs, museum exhibits, or anywhere else we happen across them, and sometimes its great to intentionally either take a styling cue, as I've done here, or to flat out try to replicate some of the looks that speak to you most powerfully.
By paying homage to the styles of the past that we love the most, we're able to keep their memory alive and well all the more majestically. Something that, I can't help but think Monsieur Dior would have approved of, having done so himself, too, when he brought fuller, deeply feminine, and more sumptuous garments back into mainstream fashion again after the harrowing war years, where they've continued to resurface (especially in the 1980s) ever since - today's vintage outfit photos very much included.