The ‘fifties, Paris, fashion and Haute Couture. Corolla skirts and floral prints, brightly coloured fabrics, richly embroidered corsets, slips and sheath dresses without shoulder pads. At the Palais Galliera (palaisgalliera.paris.fr) in Paris, until the 16th of November 2014, there is an exhibition that pays homage to the golden age that made the ville Lumière the undisputed world fashion capital. “The 50s – Fashion in France, 1947 – 1957” celebrates the decade that embraced the ideas and the creativity of the protagonists of French fashion: Christian Dior (dior.com), Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel (chanel.com), Pierre Balmain (balmain.com), Hubert de Givenchy (givenchy.com) and Pierre Cardin (pierrecardin.com) are just a few of the masters who designed iconic silhouettes that are still today a source of inspiration.
It was at the beginning of 1947 when Christian Dior launched his first collection and presented his idea of femininity. Dior’s woman had rounded shoulders, a long, corolla-shaped skirt twenty centimetres from the ground, a wasp waist achieved with a corset, the guêpière, and exquisite, costly fabrics. This was the New Look, as it was dubbed by Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and from that moment on it became the symbol of the fashion that would dominate the decade. Like Dior, many other designers of the time were searching for their own direction. Cristobal Balenciaga created the egg and balloon shapes, and the tonneau or barrel line. But if, on the one hand, there was a search for opulence as an answer to the financial crash of 1929 and the disasters of the war, on the other hand, there were those, like Coco Chanel, who were attempting to give a form to simplicity and practicality by reinterpreting humble materials and making women free. In 1945 the “Couturiers Associés” arrived, consisting of Jacques Fath, Robert Oiguet, Paquin, Carven and Jean Dessès, whose objective was to drive forward a true fashion revolution, creating ready-to- wear clothes, starting from haute couture itself.
The ‘fifties shook up fashion and women’s style and were the years that enabled moments of lightness and of unconditional creativity.
“The 50s – Fashion in France, 1947 – 1957” puts on display the creations of the great masters and also of those names that, over time, have been forgotten, like Jean Dessès, Madeleine Vramant and Lola Prusac. More than a hundred garments and accessories retrace the evolution of female elegance from the birth of the New Look until the death of Dior and the arrival of his heir, Yves Saint Laurent. Clothes that are drawn from the museum’s collections, and show absolutely no sign of the past.