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Moment 16: Dior’s Bright New Star

Christian Dior’s debut collection was anchored in two new skirt silhouettes, a mid-calf length for daytime and an ankle-length “for restaurant dining.”

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Christian Dior on Avenue Montaigne 1948

Christian Dior on Avenue Montaigne, 1948.

Photo By Bettman/Corbis

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

It’s hard to imagine a time when a midlength skirt was a source of shock waves. But such was the case in February of 1947 at Christian Dior’s Avenue Montaigne studio, decorated, as WWD noted, in “soft gray handlings and upholstery, with white walls and furniture,” much like it is today. Dior’s debut collection was anchored in two new silhouettes, the Figure 8 and the Corolle, which WWD classified as the “newest, for it lengthens skirts to cover midcalf for daytime and nearly reaches ankle for restaurant dining but gives bell fullness to skirts.” So lavish a shape—a later model called Diorama required 45 yards of material—was considered quite controversial on the heels of wartime fabric restrictions. Ultimately, the influential New Look marked the reemergence of Paris as the fashion capital of the world, and, as the paper noted, turned Dior into its “Bright new Star.”