Diversity and democratization of Dior in Australia: Social factors in fashion modification in the 1940s–50s | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-6134
  • E-ISSN: 2040-6142

Abstract

Christian Dior’s 1947 ‘New Look’ collection has been widely examined for its influence on both haute couture and clothing styles in the 1950s. In the Australian context, Margaret Maynard examined how the New Look was marketed through the ideological positioning of women’s roles in the domestic sphere. This marketing campaign was spearheaded by two business syndicates who brought a series of French Fashion Parades to Australia in the late 1940s through the 1950s. Despite the hype around the parades, just how much the fashions were adopted by the wider public has not been measured. Australians did not adopt the New Look unchanged, instead local sensibilities, climate and culture meant modification was inevitable.

Through examining home-sewing patterns, photographs of key cultural events and images from popular magazines from the period, this article establishes how the New Look was modified in the Australia. Results show that despite the many women who were eager to embrace the new fashion, many more were reticent, clinging in particular to the shorter hemlines they had adopted during the war years. This led to a hybrid style that both followed the French lead and suited Australian society. French designers, keen to expand their business empires through licensing, responded to these adaptions, incorporating elements into their later collections. This represented a step away from the trickle-down model. This changing dynamic gave Australian customers the confidence to demand more from the fashion designers and to adapt fashion to suit the Australian context. By examining the impact of Dior’s New Look through the lens of ordinary Australian women, the influences of both the designer and his customers on the evolution of post-Second War World are exposed.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Australian Commonwealth Government through the Research Training Programme
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2024-02-25
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): 1940s fashion; 1950s fashion; Australia; Christian Dior; fashion; New Look
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