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Evening dress - Monte Carlo evening dress
  • Monte Carlo evening dress
    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957
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Monte Carlo evening dress

  • Object:

    Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1956 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
    Christian Dior

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk taffeta, lined with voile, cotton net, boned, nylon

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Laurie Newton Sharp

  • Museum number:

    T.216-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Christian Dior founded his Parisian fashion house in 1946, with backing from the textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac. On 12 February 1947, the House of Dior launched its first collection. Dubbed the ‘New Look’ by the press, the collection had an instant and unparalleled influence on fashion around the world.

This strapless dress was worn by Laurie Newton Sharp, News Editor for Harrods, for a 1956 goodwill tour to America to promote the store. It was said that she was 'the sort of impeccably elegant woman who carries an invisible mirror with her'.

In an interview with the News Chronicle just before her trip, she said: 'I prefer to have a few good basic clothes, and then to be extravagant with hats and gloves. I would not buy a material that creases; or an accessory which did not match; or a colour which did not suit me. This means that when I begin to dress I can’t go wrong'.

This dress, by Christian Dior (1905-57), was originally designed in plain white silk. Mrs Newton Sharp ordered it in this expensive floral print to suit her colouring. The outfit was completed with a top-coat of plain pink silk satin.

Physical description

One-piece strapless evening dress of chiné rose patterned cream silk taffeta. Shaped and draped at the bust, fitted at the waist with the skirt flaring gently out. The drapes from the centre of the bust, which are held by a long tagged ribbon bow, flow into the skirt. It fastens at the centre back and is lined with white voile.

The under dress which is stitched to the front of the bodice is composed of a waist length cotton net, heavily boned brassiere hooking at the back to which is attached a white silk slip faced with net. The stiffened supporting petticoat attached to the brassiere is composed of three rows of nylon stiffened flounces.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1956 (made)

Artist/maker

Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
Christian Dior

Materials and Techniques

Printed silk taffeta, lined with voile, cotton net, boned, nylon

Dimensions

Circumference: 84 cm bust, Circumference: 63 cm waist, Circumference: 200 cm hem, Height: 1600 mm, Width: 700 mm, Depth: 700 mm

Object history note

RF number is 1968/1888.

The dress was worn by the donor. The dress was ordered in the Paris salon and made in the French ateliers, although it is described in the News Chronicle as London Dior for publicity reasons, as the donor, Mrs. Laurie Newton Sharp was the News Editor for Harrodsand on a trip to America to publicise the store. She was the first person to hold the position of News Editor, which was created in 1953, to supervise the store's press and public relationships.

The label was cut out as the donor wanted to present it as a London Dior.

The dress was worn with a pink organza coat, not given, but described as simple and full. Dior commended Mrs Newton Sharp's appearance in the dress. His original design for the dress was in plain white silk.

Descriptive line

Monte Carlo evening dress, printed silk taffeta, Christian Dior haute couture spring/summer 1956, Flèche line, Paris, France

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

News Chronicle, May 7, 1956. 'She has the secret of elegance' by Jean Soward.
Jean-Luc Dufresne, Christian Dior: Museum and Garden (Editions Artlys: Musee Christian Dior, Granville, 2005), p.6
Miller, L., 'Perfect Harmony' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007), pl.5.14

Labels and date

Monte Carlo dress

Christian Dior (1905–57)
Haute couture, Spring/Summer 1956
Flèche line (‘Arrow’)
Silk (taffeta)

Described as ‘among England’s best-dressed women’, Laurie Newton Sharp was director of publicity at the prestigious London department store Harrods. In 1956 the British daily News Chronicle interviewed Newton Sharp about her stylish wardrobe, praising her collection of Christian Dior clothes. She purchased this evening dress, she said, ‘for grand summer occasions’.

Victoria and Albert Museum - T.216-1968 - Given by Mrs Laurie Newton Sharp

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams [02/02/2019-14/07/2019]
'Monte-Carlo' evening dress (robe du soir courte)
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Paris
1956 spring/summer, Ligne Flèche

This short dress was worn by Laurie Newton Sharp, buyer for Harrods, for a 1956 goodwill tour to America to promote the store. It was said that she was 'the sort of impeccably elegant woman who carries an invisible mirror with her'.

Chiné-printed silk taffeta

Worn and given by Mrs Laurie Newton Sharp
V&A: T.216-1968 [22/09/2007-06/01/2008]

Production Note

Spring/summer 1956, La Ligne Flèche (arrow line)

Materials

Silk; Material

Subjects depicted

Roses

Categories

Fashion; Evening wear; Textiles; Women's clothes

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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