This Christmas, Rachel's gifts to me followed a theme. I received a vintage 1950's kimono jacket (known as a haori), a 1950's saucer hat, gloves and nail polish.
I don't understand the legal jargon on Dior.com's site so instead of linking you I have montaged some photos showing their fab new book (UK link here ). The New Look featured narrow waists and full skirts. It was an abundant, extravagant look to throw off the austerity of the war years and fabric rationing. It was, and still is, an incredibly glamorous look.
For the 2007 collection, John Galliano, the current maestro of the House of Dior, pulled inspiration from the New Look archives and added an oriental touch. The nipped in waists and full skirts were there, but on some outfits, the fabric was folded to look like origami.
Upon seeing photos of the collection on the Dior website, Rachel decided to put together her version of it for me for Christmas.
The purchase of the haori was the start of my outfit. Then came the pale pink saucer hat with a bright pink flower and the matching gloves.
Perhaps the most famous of the 1947 Dior New Look outfits, is his ensemble entitled "Bar". It consists of an ivory jacket - with exaggerated waist and hips, over a full pleated navy skirt. The look is topped off with a straw saucer hat.
The scale, texture and colour of the three items compliment each other beautifully.
The original outfit had padded hips to further accentuate the cinched, corseted waist. Not many of us need to pad our hips these days although I do know of a company that sells a great waist cincher!
The V&A Museum in London has recently hosted a major exhibition entitled "The Golden Age of Couture 1947-1957". I went to see it. Not surprisingly, the New Look featured heavily. There were beautiful creations from Jacques Fath and Balenciaga and some designers hitherto unknown to me. I watched every film clip, viewed every item of clothing and read every piece of information in the exhibition. To say I was inspired by my visit was an understatement. I then spent a wonderful hour in the gift shop, oddly enough I was mainly buying things for Rachel.
This is what I made from the ingredients.
The week after Christmas I dug out a lovely Ralph Lauren navy blue silk ball skirt that had been languishing in the back of my wardrobe. It had last made an appearance at my wedding reception and still had mud traces on it. I decided to stencil it with a wisteria design from our forthcoming Larger Than Life collection. The process of stencilling the skirt is in the post below this one. I chose the wisteria because I thought the shape would flow well with the drape of the skirt and also it had a Japanese vibe that would tie in with the kimono. The colours used in the stencilling were chosen to compliment the colours of the hat and jacket.
Have I worn it in public? Yes I wore it to afternoon tea the week after Christmas. H.