Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Waaay back in February I went to the amazing Christian Dior exhibition at the V & A – my Aunt, one of her friends and I booked tickets as soon as they went on sale, and I’m so glad we did as it’s now sold out! I can see why – I think it’s the best exhibition I’ve been too. It’s certainly the largest! I wish I could go again as there was so much to see, but that doesn’t seem likely.

The first room you go into centres around the famous Bar Suit from the 1947 New Look, and the subsequent Dior designers’ re-imaginings of it. I love the most recent one, below.

I loved the next room, with the black background and lights highlighting each outfit. There was also no glass here, so it was very photograph-able!

I love this black dress, with the fur collar and matching hat.

This is Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress. The embroidery was beautiful close up!

The exhibition was arranged thematically rather than chronologically, which I thought worked really well – you could see how each designer used the same influences to create new designs. The next couple of pictures were all inspired by 18th century fashion.

There was also a small collection of what looked like wedding dresses. All beautiful.

I love the embroidery on this one!

The next room was full of designs inspired by other countries.

I absolutely love this one! Maybe my next Dressmaker’s Ball dress!?

These ones was inspired by Mexican fashion.

And Japan.

I think the next room – the garden – might have been my favourite. I mean look at the blossom on the ceiling!

I loved this mini version of one of the flowery dresses!

I love, love this jacket with the flowered skirt. And the blue belt is perfection.

I mostly found that in each mini collection I liked John Galliano’s the least, but this is stunning. It’s from 2010/2011 so I may have to extend my Hundred Years Wardrobe project so I have an excuse to make a version of this.

Love the swatches next to the sketches of the designs.

I aspire to be this lady – so chic and giving zero fucks!

There was also a room in the exhibition highlighting each of the different Dior designers – I loved this gown with the bow at the back, if memory serves, which was inspired by the costumes from My Fair Lady, which you can definitely see.

The toile room was the best! This is one of the main reasons I want to go again to the exhibition. We went on the second Saturday of the exhibition and there were so many people I didn’t have as much time to look around as I would have liked. It was amazing, though, to see the design lines without the ‘distraction’ of the fabric choices.

I love the back of this dress. And the shoes!

Want!!

The final room was the room full of gowns. It was breathtaking! The lights changed colours gradually, which made the dresses look so different in different lights.

I feel like I may have to make this gold suit!!

I basically squealed out loud when I saw this dress. I love Lupita Nyong’o’s style and I have this dress pinned on my pinterest – I didn’t realise it was by Dior!

And this one was worn by Rihanna!

This last gown and quote was a very fitting end to such an amazing exhibition!

I bought myself the book of the exhibition in the gorgeous V & A shop, where I could easily spend hundreds of pounds without even thinking! I’m glad I’ll have the book to look through to keep feeling inspired long into the future.

Are you lucky enough to have got tickets to the exhibition? Are you going to the Mary Quant one that’s opening now?

 

 

My Dressmakers’ Ball Dress (AKA Red Carpet Copycat)

After I shared a sneaky peak of what I was making for the Dressmakers’ Ball, I am now here to show you the finished outfit (which you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram!)

But first I want to share a little bit about the ball itself……it was amazing! It was run by the lovely ladies at Crafty Sew & So, a fabric shop in Leicester. It was so nice to see everyone go all out when given the excuse – and I’m sure some of us don’t need much of an excuse! I kept thinking how awesome it was that sewing allows us to express ourselves exactly as we want to. I can’t imagine how painful it is shopping for a prom dress, or even a wedding dress, and not finding exactly what you want. My prom dress was made by my mum and now I know if I’m going to a wedding or something, whatever I can imagine that I want to wear I can make (within the boundaries of my skills of course!).

These are all the ‘advanced’ dressmakers (which meant you had been sewing for 3 or more years). The photo is by TKL Photography, and I thought it was great that they had a professional photographer taking pictures because whenever I’m having a good time I don’t think to take any (which I guess it how it should be!)

I went with my friend Sarah who I met at the Sew Brizzle meet ups and Jen, also from Bristol, was there too (though she didn’t take part in the competition so isn’t in the photo above).

I was really impressed with the beginner dressmakers too – they had all been sewing for less than 3 years, and some of them had made their dress for the ball and it was the first or second thing they every made! They were a lot, lot, lot better than the first and second things I made, I can tell you! I tried to take some photos, but they’re all terrible and mostly of people’s backs, so do go check out the photo album on CraftySew&So’s facebook page.

Special shout out goes to Kendell, who I sat next to at dinner, and who won the beginner dressmaker category. She has only been sewing since September! (Photo by TKL Photography). Amazing!

Helen from Stitch My Style (who I’ve had a bit of a girl crush on for a while now because I love her vlogs!) won the advanced dressmaker category for her latest recreation project – after the amazingness that was her Marilyn Monroe Dress – the opera dress from Pretty Woman. It truly was a wonder to behold, and she had completely shelf-drafted it. She is a very talented lady! Also I got to chat to her a little bit on the night, and the next morning when some people met for breakfast and she’s as lovely and funny in real life as you’d expect from her videos.

Here she is (left) with the equally lovely Elisalex from By Hand London, who was one of the judges, and Nina from Nina Lee patterns, who I met a couple of years ago at a meet-up and I was surprised she remembered me – for some reason I always assume people will forget me as soon as I leave the room!

Well, this might be enough chat about how great the ball was and maybe I should show you some photos of my dress?

Here it is from the front – looks kind of boring I think, though it is a good colour – the fabric is the leftovers from my By Hand London Alix Dress. The bodice is the Christine Haynes Emery, which is my go to basic bodice as I did quite a bit of fitting back when I first made it, and I’m too lazy to do it all again with a different pattern! The front skirt, though it a sort of made up thing. I used the skirt I drafted for my Navy Lace dress but I extended it to the ground and made the top of the skirt the same length as the bottom of the bodice (plus seam allowances, of course).

There is also a split up the front of the skirt. I did this using a random tutorial I found online, where you make a sort of facing, sewing either side of the line you want for the split, cut the line between the 2 rows of stitching, then turn it to the inside and voila! You have a split, with the raw edges all enclosed. I then handstitched the facing part to the inside using herringbone stitch – there was a lot of handsewing on this dress as the fabric marks quite easily, so where I might have machined a hem on a less ball-worthy dress, I did it all by hand on this one.

You also might be able to see there are trousers underneath my dress. I thought about buying the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern, but then I remembered I have Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which has a Cigarette Trousers pattern, so I used that.

I did have to do quite a bit of adjusting to the trousers, but I failed to write any notes so I’m stuffed if I want to make them again! I moved the back zip to one of the side seams, shortened the legs on the pattern by an inch below the knee and then took them in quite a lot on the legs. Like an inch or more on each leg, inside and out.  They didn’t look perfect but they looked okay. And they fitted okay across the bum from the beginning, so that was a bonus!

Anyway, the interesting thing about my outfit is the back!

As you may have already recognised, this is a copy of an outfit worn by Emma Watson at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. I tried to recreate her pose, but it didn’t really work. I added a second strap to hide my bra strap. Also I have no idea how her dress is staying up – I added some really strong interfacing to mine, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Luckily Helen from Stitch My Style had some spare (ehem) tit tape so Sarah stuck the top corners to my back, which was great because otherwise I would have spent the whole night adjusting it!

I love how the wind caught the dress in the above photo! The fabric was pleasingly swishy to dance in, but because it’s only half a dress and because of the split, it wasn’t as swirly as Elisalex’s dress, which was definitely one of the best for twirling in!

I’m pretty proud of my pleating on the back, so here’s a close-up. This fabric creases like a bitch, but it does mean once pleats have been ironed in, they stay!

This is me trying to copy Emma Watson’s pose – semi successful I think. If I had a stylist and someone to teach me how to pose, it might have been closer! Oh well!

Emma Watson Christian Dior, Golden Globes

To sum up, I really love this dress/outfit! I really enjoyed working out how to recreate something I’ve only seen in photos. And it was great to have an opportunity/excuse to make one of the things I’ve been dreaming about making for aaages! I also, surprisingly, enjoyed all of the handsewing. I think next year – assuming they’re running the ball again – I want to make something with a more tricky fabric to work with. Maybe velvet, which I’ve not sewn with yet. And I’d like to give boning a try. I’ve already got an idea in mind of another red carpet copy cat dress, but I’m not going to share it yet because no doubt I will change my mind by next May! I might try to recreate some others of my favourite red carpet looks too, like the less formal ones – I don’t know how many gowns I’ll need in my wardrobe!

I’ll leave you with another photo of our photography assistant who showed up again as The Boyfriend was taking these photos! You may recognise him from the photos I took of my denim moss skirt. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but he lost an eye a few months ago, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down.

He seemed pretty determined to photobomb me!

But I couldn’t resist his lovely face. He really is a friendly cat and comes into our flat if we leave our back door open 🙂

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Book: Vintage Fashion

Since moving to the Cotswolds, The Boyfriend and I have made an effort to explore little villages and towns, including Stroud, which has some excellent vintage and second hand shops. There are quite a few bookshops too and in one of them I found this book:

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I had to snap it up, obviously! It’s about the history of clothing in the 20th century and also about collected and wearing vintage clothes – there’s a glossary in the back of loads of vintage shops. The introduction is by Zandra Rhodes, who says:

“Vintage – what wonders this word now conjures up when linked with fashion! A magical harvest of wearable art! A wind from a past season that must be dipped into, sampled and tasted; old yes, but the garment is a survivor of the twentieth century and as such has become a classic of importance.”

The book covers each decade of the twentieth century up to the 80s – 1900-1929 are lumped together into one chapter. In the introduction they talk about the move from couturiers setting fashions and seamstresses reproducing this to mass manufacturer by the end of the second world war, removing individuality to some extent as people bought more off the rack (and made things themselves from commercial sewing patterns). The book points out, though, “why choose from ready-to-wear options produced for you, when the whole history of fashion is available?” I feel this way about sewing my own clothes – although I don’t want to look like I’m going to a costume party every day, it does mean people are less likely to have the same clothes as me because even if they use the same pattern, the chances of them using the same fabric too are pretty slim. This wouldn’t be the case if I bought all my clothes from Primark…..

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I love this dress on the first page of the 1900-1929 section. It’s a black peplum-bodiced velvet dress, trimmed with bands of velvet, with a white turnover collar, by Paul Poiret, 1924. It represents the change in this era – from Victorian/ Edwardian fashions of corsets, frills and flounces, worn by the wealthy and titled in society, to the move towards modern silhouettes, the loss of the corset (as women became (slightly) freer after the First World War) and the birth of the jazz age and the increasing influence of the media; women took their fashion cues more from film stars and by reading Vogue and Vanity Fair, rather than from Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies.

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I love this dress too – I think it looks much more modern then First World War era! It was designed by Henri Bendel, who owned a shop in New York which originally sold designs by Chanel and Schiaparelli, then made own-label versions. I love the close up of the embroidery pattern on the fabric – it looks like running stitch you could do on any modern machine! Maybe I should make a copy…….not sure I’d have the patience, though!

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These silhouettes are ones I particularly recognise as being from the 1920s. I wrote a whole post on the early 1920s, if you would like more information about it. By 1924 the flapper was in full swing – they were known for their behaviour as much as for their fashion – the smoked and put on their make-up in public! The waistline of dresses dropped dramatically in 1925 to below the hip, and by 1927 it had disappeared entirely. Hemlines rose as the waistline dropped, to a scandalous 15in, to just below the knee. The flapper style crashed, along with Wall Street, in 1929.

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The 1930s is the ‘Hollywood glamour’ era. The style of cutting on the bias to show off the natural curves of the body was an almost compete reversal from the boyish, loose, straight styles of the 1920s. Designers also experimented with different fabrics (and new synthetic ones starting to be developed) because people could not afford luxury after the crash and between the 2 wars (though, of course, they didn’t know they were between 2 wars!).

Chanel (above, right) and Schiaparelli (below, right) were the 2 most influential designers of the 30s. Chanel had revolutionised day wear by seeing the potential in wool jersey as a comfortable, cost effective fabric. She focused on easy-to-wear sporty styles in neutral colours, including black. Where Chanel thought couture was a profession, Elsa Schiaparelli thought it was an art. Born in Italy, she was a close friend of Picasso, Dali and Man Ray, and published a book of poetry in 1911. She created clothes in bright colours, with an exaggerated silhouette – high waisted and broad shouldered to elongate the body – this was probably her own style as she was barely 5ft tall.

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Below is a floor-length harlequin wool felt coat from Schiaparelli’s 1939 Commedia dell’Arte collection. She had a shorter career, retiring during the Second World War, and although she was very successful at the time, dressing stars like Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, she is less well-remembered now. Perhaps because Chanel’s house kept going under Karl Lagerfeld? I think the below coat is quite 60s in a way, so maybe she was a bit ahead of her time.

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I think the 1930s are my second favourite decade for fashion, after the 60s, obviously. These dresses just look effortlessly elegant. Maybe I’ll have to give McCall’s M7154 a go finally!

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At the end of each chapter/ decade of the book is a round up of key looks, and coloured squares to show the palette of each era. It’s a handy quick reference!

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The 1940s was all about the suit, which echoed the military uniforms seen on service men and women. They were cut with a quite masculine shape, emphasising the shoulders, to show how women meant business. Utility clothing was also an important movement in this era. Called the Victory suit in America and Everyman’s clothing in Germany, most countries had their version of the restricted fashions designed to save materials and labour.

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Of course, the end of the decade was all about Dior’s New Look. According to the book, the below outfit is from a Vogue Pattern by Pierre Balmain, rather than being an actual Dior. I love that the book acknowledges how many women sewed the latest fashions for themselves.

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One thing I hadn’t really thought of before, when thinking about the history of fashion, was the influence of countries and cities. Paris was the centre of the fashion universe up to the 30s but when it was occupied by Germany in 1940, America had to step up and find it’s own way stylistically. Their Victory suit was less austere than the British version – I guess they weren’t as restricted with materials as Britain, on the ration, was. And obviously the influence of Hollywood was really starting to take off.

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The 1950s was a decade of hope – after the Second World War and the positive reception of Dior’s New Look, women began to want to dress in more luxurious, feminine clothes (after enduring the masculine tailoring of the 40s). There was a slight backlash against this move back to the feminine, though – women had been liberated to some extent during the war, working as landgirls and in factories, and they didn’t like the idea that they would revert to being feminine and restricted to a romantic ideal.

There were 2 main silhouettes of the 50s – fit and flounce, both intended to emphasise a small waist, which could be achieved with underwear and strategic padding. This was the last decade when Paris still dominated, and I feel like it’s one of the last slightly old-fashioned decades (at least from a modern point of view) where women were still expected to have hats, gloves, and matching shoes and bag. I love these drawings of the different silhouettes,.

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Dior himself experimented with many different silhouettes throughout the decade – he wasn’t a one-trick pony. The below picture is from his last collection before his death in 1957. You can see he had started to move away from the hour-glass shape and I think you can start to see the emergence of what I would consider a more 1960s style, especially the red coat on the right.

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Although the 50s isn’t really a decade I am particularly drawn to in terms of my own style, it was undeniably an elegant decade! I can’t get over the flawless make-up and hair in this picture!

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I do like the 50s colour palette, though! Lovely turquoise, pink and yellow.

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Now my favourite decade – the 1960s!

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In the 1960s London took over from Paris as the city everyone looked to to set the styles, especially Carnaby Street and the King’s Road. For the first time young people had money to spend and wanted to spend it on clothes, music, and their whole lifestyle. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were changing music, models like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton were becoming stars and the way fashion was photographed (by David Bailey and others) meant it appealed to the young.

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I feel like I want a bright, patterned suit, like this one by Biba. The dress is also Biba and is equally fabulous! I love the print of the fabric. Biba was the cheaper end of the fashion scale in London and she capitalised on sales by selling whole outfits, including make-up and tights, so people could get everything in one place. Mary Quant, Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes and many others came out of the London scene too. If I could have lived at any time, I think I would definitely choose London in the 60s!

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Although London led the way, Paris was behind the space-age fashions of the 60s, including this red and white collection of 1968 by André Courrèges. The space age look was inspired by the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States – Yuri Gagarin successfully orbited the earth in 1961 and the moon landing was in 1969. The designs were minimal, both in style and in colour palette and were modelled on what we would be wearing in the year 2000.

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Towards the end of the 60s, the hippy look started to creep in. Pop music gave way to rock and at the same time people started to find a new style to wear to festivals and elsewhere. It wasn’t a designed look, but was about buying things second hand and items from other cultures (such as Indian kaftans, and Afghan jackets) and looking like an individual. This doesn’t mean that fashion didn’t follow and create new versions of this hippy look, though. The above look is a sort of lux version of the hippy look, in my opinion – I do love the combination of colours, though. This is by Bill Blass in 1965.

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The ‘mod’ look was all about simplicity of style – simple shapes which were comfortable to wear. Then you had the rockers, and the hippies and psychedelia. It seems like the 60s is the first time it’s creeping in that you could express yourself through fashion and not just wear the same styles as everyone else. This gets more extreme in the 70s and has maybe led to today’s fashion being about ‘trends’ rather than any particular style.

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I’ve included the round-up of the 60s because look at the colour palette! Orla Kiely anyone?!

Ah, the 1970s. I should pay a lot of attention to this decade as it’s apparently back in style this season. Does anyone else feel like the decades of the past just cycle around every couple of years?

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The 70s was definitely about lots of different styles. The bohemian flavour of the 70s was epitomised by Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, who designed together until their divorce in 1974. The above coat is one of theirs – she tended to design the prints and he showed them off to their best in the clothing designs. Clark carried on the bias legacy of the 30s, showing off the female form again after the straighter, simpler shapes of the 60s.

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A review of 70s fashion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning punk and Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Coming out of bondage gear – rubber, leather, studs, chains – Westwood and McLaren mixed these elements with more traditional fabrics like muslin or cotton t shirts, cutting them up and pinning them together to create new shapes. Where flares had been getting wider and wider, punk reigned the trouser in and went back to drainpipes and skintight leather.

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Glam- (or glitter-)rock music dominated the charts in the early 70s – the likes of David Bowie, T-Rex, Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. They dressed in shiny, luxurious fabrics, platforms and make-up.

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One of my favourite fashions of the 70s is Disco. Starting in New York and Studio 54, the music was made to be danced to. The clothes followed suit – those that would look best being danced in inside clubs. They favoured shiny fabrics like satin and lame and bright colours like fuchsia, pink, and electric blue. In the clubs the silhouettes were loose and flowing and on the street it included drainpipe trousers and boob tubes.

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It seems that most of the fashion trends of the 70s had an associated music style. I was watching a programme about music in the 70s and it was the decade when consuming music was at its highest and in pretty much every genre there was great music being produced – The Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Eric Clapton, Jackson 5, Queen, Donna Summer, Dione Warwick, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, The Sex Pistols, ABBA, David Bowie etc. It seems like it  really shifted in the 70s to people dressing as individuals rather than following the only fashion that was on offer. I haven’t even mentioned the continuation of the hippy style, the revival of decorative arts and crafts, and the influence of Japan.

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I think the 80s is probably my least favourite decade in this book. I just think it’s the decade style forgot – sorry if you love the 80s! Feel free to convince me why it was great if you think so.

At the beginning of the decade, young people were feeling the pinch of the Reagan and Thatcher governments so fashions were created out of necessity and lack of funds. By the middle of the decade, though, people were better off and the 80s saw the beginning of an obsession with labels – like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Armani, and Versace. Tailoring took it’s masculine queue from the unisex looks of the 70s, such as in Annie Hall and from androgynous stars like Annie Lennox and Grace Jones. The suits above, right, are Chanel! I think it’s just the styling that makes them look 80s, if you look at the shapes of the jackets and skirts, you could almost be looking at the 40s.

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The skirt went kind of mental in the 80s – puffball, ra-ra and mini-crini (which I assume means mini crinoline, demonstrated by the Westwood one above, middle). These were paired with cropped jackets and over-the-knee stockings. The ready to wear copies were apparently appalling as they were not as easy to replicate as people thought!

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I didn’t take photos of many of the 80s pages – I just find it too ugly and boring to write about! Sorry not sorry.

What’s your favourite decade for fashion? Do you collect vintage clothing?

Style Crush: Emma Watson

Sorry for the radio silence recently! I moved house a couple of weeks ago (last Monday to be exact). We decided we had had enough of London so made the move to Gloucestershire, temporarily living with The Boyfriend’s parents. It took about a week to settle in but now I have my own little sewing area set up and have been sewing and cutting out things for the last few days, so hopefully soon I will have some finished things to show you. And a new backdrop for my photos!

My Style Crush today is Emma Watson – of course, of Harry Potter fame. More recently though, as I’m sure you’re aware, she has become somewhat of a spokesperson for feminism and gender equality, through her work on the He for She Campaign as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She has recently announced that she will take a year off from acting to focus on this work and to read books and learn stuff. She has set up a feminist bookclub on Goodreads if you’re interested, too.

She also has called on the fashion industry to help affect change towards gender equality as they have such a powerful voice, particularly in terms of how women are perceived and represented in the media. You can watch a video where she talks to some of fashion’s biggest names here:

It may seem a little frivolous now to talk about how I like the clothes that she wears, but the thing about fashion and style is that it is one of the ways people can express themselves and it can make you feel confident or powerful or sexy or however you want to feel in any given situation.

For her recent speeches and things she seems to have mostly worn monochrome, well tailored things. And lots of skinny jeans/ trousers, which I’m a sucker for!

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I especially love this outfit – I don’t think it’s a silhouette I would have gone for, but I love how she looks comfortable and stylish. Maybe some wide-legged cropped trousers/ culottes are in my future?!

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Still mostly in monochrome, I love the next 3 red carpet looks. They’re a bit out of the ordinary and make her look much cooler than wearing a gown or boring dress would. Maybe I should copy this lace top and skirt with my lace!? Maybe not wedding appropriate though…….

I definitely need to make a leather jacket though. I’m not sure I could really pull it off, but I really really want one!

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I love this jumpsuit! I’m being more and more drawn to jumpsuits and dungarees lately. I already have the BHL Holly Jumpsuit and Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection in my stash, so I think they’re going to move up the queue as the weather warms up.

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I love this outfit mainly for the skirt!

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I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know I loved it when she chopped all her hair off! I thought it made her look super cool and a bit more grown up than she had before – the below picture was at the penultimate Harry Potter premiere. I also love the lave dress. Maybe some more inspiration for my lace!

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Another little lace dress, but this time in a brilliant shade of pink. I think she looks nice in colour, so it’s almost a shame she wears black and white so much, though it is incredibly chic.

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You can’t beat a dress with a contrast colour with a pixie cut. Very 60s!

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As you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram, I’m a big fan of this Dior outfit she wore to the Golden Globes in 2014. I love the colour (though not on me!), the fact that it looks like a normal dress from the front, and the blue shoes! I kinda want to make a copycat version, maybe in more of a pink than red, but I would never have an occasion to wear it. Do you ever sew things for the fun of it even though you know you won’t wear the finished product?

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Fashion History: Dior’s New Look

After writing my post about the Utility Clothing Scheme, I thought I’d write about the next thing chronologically that shifted fashion: Dior’s New Look. Launched in 1947, the ‘New Look’ was a compete departure from the austerity and seriousness of the wartime fashions. Dior wanted to give women back “their taste for light-heartedness, the art of seduction”. source

The main features of the collection were tiny waists and very full skirts, with padding on the ships, to created an illusion of an even tinier waste. Each skirt used up to 20 yards of fabric, which was completely opposite to the restrictions under rationing where turn-ups were banned and pleats were limited. Dior also moved towards rounded shoulders, in contrast to the military-influenced square shoulders of the earlier 40s.

The suit that epitomised the New Look was the Bar suit.

New Look 1(source)

For those that couldn’t afford to buy the couture but wanted to emulate the New Look, the only option was to sew the look yourself. There were no official sewing patterns released, as far as I can tell, though by the 50s, the silhouette was being adopted more and more so patterns from that era would give you a close approximation of the originals. When doing research for this post, I came across Inside Christian Dior’s New Look on the Vintage Connection.

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The extreme shape was formed by both corsets on the top half and padding under the skirt on the bottom half. “Dior’s own corset (famous for taking inches of the waist) was named “the waspie;” this new version of the Victorian corset was five or six inches deep, made of rigid fabric with elastic inserts, and contained boning and back-lacing. Generally, all corsets of the era were described by fashion magazines as “super-light weight” and were advertised as containing feather boning. In addition to the use of corsets, Dior frequently lined the waists of his skirts and dresses with feather boning. For women who could only afford to buy the mass-produced version of The New Look, Vogue suggested the use of a “waist-liner,” which was a strip of muslin or seam binding with boning sewn into it, which Vogue said gave “a thin strip of indentation about [the] waist, and could be sewn into each…dress…””source

New Look evening dress(source)

Most New Look petticoats were made of stuff nylon, taffeta, or horsehair net. Most often they had a fitted hip yolk leading to several smooth layers of netting that ended with a few ruffles. In order to avoid snags in nylon stockings, Dior ingeniously softened the bottom ruffles of his petticoats with eyelet. If Dior’s skirts and dresses were not full, they were nearly skin-tight. New Look jackets, tightly fitted to the figure, were lined with acetate and muslin to help stiffen and support the outer fashion fabric. Dior’s right, long skirts were given strong linings in order to ward off “seating.” source

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Now I’ll leave you with some of my favourite outfits…..

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New Look 5(source)

 

New Look 7(source)

Although I think I’m more drawn to 60s fashions in general, there is something about these looks which are so glamourous! I slightly wish people still dressed like this, though I can’t imagine they were particularly practical! I’m not sure wearing a corset every day would be super fun, but maybe I’ll have a go at recreating one of these looks one day.

You could use Gertie’s Butterick 5962 to make the Bar suit:

 

B5962 Butterick by Gertie

Would you copy a historical fashion to wear now and not as a costume? If so, which one please?