Skip to content

Long Live 1950’s fashion

April 24, 2011

The 1950’s spawned a wide variety of original and distinctive styles, presented with a classic new age twist. This was probably the most glamorous of decades. The creme de la creme of fashion designers of the time were Christian  Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, and of course Coco Chanel.

Christian Dior

The man himself... Christian Dior

The Christian Dior, Bar suit from the New Look Collection, 1947.

The most influential fashion designer of the late 1940s and 1950s, Christian Dior (1905 to 1957) dominated fashion after World war II with the hourglass silhouette of his voluptuous New Look. He also defined a new business model in the post-war fashion industry by establishing Dior as a global brand across a wide range of products. Probably more than anyone else, Christian Dior redefined the look of women after the war years, with his bell suit and tiny waists. The Dior client list ran from Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich to Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Windsor. A master at shapes and silhouettes, he died in before the decade was out in 1957.

Cristobal Balenciaga

'The Master' Cristobal Balenciaga

Cristóbal Balenciaga was regarded by many, including Christian Dior, as  ‘the master’. He moved to Paris form Spain in 1937 and quickly established himself as a dominant figure

A Balenciaga creation featured in Vogue, September 1953

within Parisian couture. The house produced 356 designs per year – less than half of Dior’s production of 815, which was a mark of Balenciaga’s exacting standards. A big fan of opulent glamour, the Spanish designer nevertheless went the opposite direction to Dior with sleeker silhouettes and less emphasis on the waist. His tunic dress paved the way for Chanel’s chemise. Eventually, in 1959, his work culminated in the Empire line, with high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos. His often spare, sculptural creations were considered masterworks of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s.

Pierre Balmain

Pierre Balmain fitting a dress

The great Pierre Balmain first studied architecture before he happened upon

An elegant French lace dress and matching mink stole

his true calling in fashion. He would use his knowledge of building construction to aid him in his couture designs, always striving to create fashion that would take on a life of its own.

Balmain’s work was characterized by an emphasis on impeccable construction and simple elegance. His pure french style of elegance and grace was the envy of all designers. He is credited with popularizing the stole as an accessory. He once said, “Keep to the basic principles of fashion and you will always be in harmony with the latest trends without falling prey to them.”

Coco Chanel

The style icon, Coco Chanel

As one of the most famous names in fashion history and the only woman to make

Coco Chanel in her studio in 1954, wearing one of her own designs.

our list, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883–1971) deserves special recognition. In contrast to popular full and flouncy skirts, Chanel began creating the boxy, now classic Chanel suit jackets and skirts in trimmed and textured tweed. The materials Chanel chose were always richly textured, which contributed to the finished product’s high prices. Chanel’s silhouette of her suits was completely straight, divinely lined with silk. Her look was classic, refined, and adorned with details. Chanel also accessorized many of her designs with strings of pearls and collarless jackets, both of which were considered fashionable in the 1950’s. One of the most classic trends from the 1950’s is the empire line, which was introduced in the late 1950’s. This style was applied to dresses and shirts mostly, and was adored by teenagers who looked innocently childlike, hence the coined phrase “baby doll style”.

Well folks, there you have it. The fashion gurus of the 1950s; each with their own distinctive and creative style. Who’s designs do you think have withstood the test of time and maintained timelessness, elegance and wearability?

Enhanced by Zemanta
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: