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Evening dress - La Ligne Libre
  • La Ligne Libre
    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957
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La Ligne Libre

  • Object:

    Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1957 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
    Dognin (manufacturer)
    Guillemin (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tulle and net of nylon and rayon with satin ribbon, boned, lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Baroness Alain de Rothschild

  • Museum number:

    T.121-1974

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This dress was designed by Christian Dior (1905-57) in 1957, the year of his death. It was commissioned by the Baroness Alain de Rothschild to wear for the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Paris in April 1957. Many grand events were held during the visit, such as dinners at the Louvre, Versailles and the Elysée Palace, and also visits to the opera and races.

The state visit was the highlight of the year's social calendar. Couturiers were inundated with requests for evening gowns and gala dresses from society ladies. Lady Gladwyn, the wife of the British Ambassador, commented in her diaries that even the Queen’s dresses did not compare to the French clothes for grandeur.

This dress was originally much whiter but has unfortunately become dirty with age. It is treated with a stiffening agent that means that it cannot be cleaned.

Physical description

Evening dress of white spotted tulle consisting of a strapless bodice with a full-length gathered skirt. The net of nylon and rayon is swathed around the bodice and there is a tulle fichu collar to add fullness around the shoulders, attached at the front. The bodice is boned and has a cream silk lining and there are several white net petticoats. There is a hook and eye fastening down the centre back.

The dress would have originally had a long satin ribbon tied in a bow attached to the bodice at the point the fichu collar meets. A light green ribbon was added later for photography in September 2006.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1957 (made)

Artist/maker

Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
Dognin (manufacturer)
Guillemin (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tulle and net of nylon and rayon with satin ribbon, boned, lined with silk

Marks and inscriptions

'Christian Dior Paris Printemps - Ete 1957 / Made in France 85893'
Label inside the bodice

Dimensions

Circumference: 94 cm bust, Circumference: 73 cm waist, Diameter: 100 cm skirt hem, Weight: 1.38 kg

Object history note

Worn by Baroness Alain de Rothschild during the sate visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Paris, April 8-11th 1957.

Cecil Beaton collected several of the dresses worn during the events of this particular state visit – the Queen’s dress, T.264-1974; Lady Gladwyn’s dress, T.173-1974; and Diana Cooper’s dress, T.50-1974.

Descriptive line

Evening dress 'Belgique' from 'La Ligne Libre', of tulle, designed by Christian Dior, tulle made by Dognin and ribbon by Guillemin, Paris, 1957

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

Vogue (French), May 1957, p.64.
Vickers, H., 'Cecil Beaton' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London), p.165 & pl.7.9.
Dior Archives, Paris - Dior's dressmaking charts
no. 71
Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971

Production Note

Spring / Summer 1957

Categories

Evening wear; Fashion; Royalty; Women's clothes

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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