On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior exhibited his very first Spring/Summer collection, the Corolla and En huit lines, in his couture house on Paris’ avenue Montaigne. The success was so immediate that Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, proclaimed: “Dear Christian, your dresses have such a new look! “. This eponymous expression would go on to become just as iconic as the style she was describing.
Following the graphic concepts of the number 8, the silhouette presents itself like a calligram that lays out new rules for the Christian Dior woman. The waist is pinched, the shoulders rounded and softened, creating a serene harmony. The skirt, unfolding in the shape of a corolla, is pleated and lengthened to the middle of the calf. The volume, technique, and length demanded a considerable amount of fabric for its production. The basques were padded and came off the hips, reenforcing the delicateness of the waist. The couturier explained his creative process: “We had just come out of a destitute, parsimonious era, obsessed with tickets and textile points. My dream then naturally took form as a reaction against this poverty. […] We were coming out of an era of war, uniforms, female soldiers with shoulders like boxers. I designed female flowers, soft shoulders, blossoming busts, fine waists like lianes and wide skirts like corollas”.
Raf Simons is adding a new chapter to this saga of flowering efflorescence this year. The “tailleur bar” can be found in his latest Spring/Summer 2013 collection. The crossover-neck jacket still takes off from the hips, while the skirt is still pleated. The game of lengths is arresting. The basque is geometrized and elongated, metamorphosing the jacket into a short “coat dress”; pockets with flaps are thus able to be added. As for the skirt, it’s been shortened, almost meeting up with the back of the dress, barely visible beneath the suit jacket. Minimalism and a little rule breaking put an end to traditional elegance in order to make way for a new breed. Its shapes are simplified, fluid, and dressed up in black. A supple, imposing bow, one of Dior’s flourishes, perfects the outfit’s back. Its pure and fanciful composition wisely come together to offer a new floral and Dior-esque freshness to the “tailleur bar”.