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Jacket - Bar; La Ligne Corolle; The New Look

Bar; La Ligne Corolle; The New Look

  • Object:

    Jacket

  • Place of origin:

    Paris, France (made)

  • Date:

    1947 (designed)
    1955 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dior, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plain woven silk tussore, pleated wool crêpe, stiffened taffeta, lined with silk, padded

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Christian Dior

  • Museum number:

    T.376&A-1960

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Image in copyright

This 'Bar' suit was one of the most popular models in Dior's first collection, which he called 'La Ligne Corolle'. The press dubbed it the 'New Look' and the name endured. Dior (1905-1957) took the softer feminine shape - round, sloping shoulder-line, narrow waist and spreading skirts - to the extreme. Despite official complaints it was a resounding success. Harper's Bazaar published detailed line drawings of the New Look's construction, and 'Bar' was also illustrated in Vogue and L'Officiel.

Physical description

Woman's suit consisting of a jacket in natural coloured tussore silk, and wool crêpe and taffeta skirt.

The jacket is hip length, waisted and tightly fitted to the figure. Fastens with three self-covered buttons at the centre front. There are pockets on the hips. The collar and lapels are tailored. The lining is of cream silk and the hips are padded.

The skirt is of fine black wool crêpe, fully pleated and mounted on a stiffened taffeta petticoat. The waistband is of quilted silk shaped to throw the waist out from the hips. Fastens at the centre back with hooks and eyes and snap fasteners.

Place of Origin

Paris, France (made)

Date

1947 (designed)
1955 (made)

Artist/maker

Dior, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Plain woven silk tussore, pleated wool crêpe, stiffened taffeta, lined with silk, padded

Dimensions

[Skirt] Circumference: 18 in waist, Length: 33.5 in
[Jacket] Circumference: 36 in bust, Length: 25.5 in

Object history note

This coat, skirt and hat were given to us by 'Christian Dior Paris' (30 Avenue Montaigne), in response to our request for a typical "New Look costume". The donation was facilitated by Cecil Beaton, who contacted Dior on the musuem's behalf.

In the customs declaration form filled out by 'Christian Dior Paris' the skirt material is described as 'fibranne/laine', the jacket as 'shantung grege soie'.

It is possible that this suit is a 1950s remake of the 'Bar' suit, possibly created for Christian Dior's 1955 lecture at the Sorbonne. The famous image of the Dior house model Renée, standing on a cobbled street along the banks of the Seine taken by Willy Maywald, has been dated by the Maywald Archive as 1955, not 1947.

Historical context note

THE NEW LOOK (Panel text by C.Wilcox for The Golden Age of Couture exhibition, September 2007)

Dior launched his new house on 12 February 1947 and became an overnight sensation. His voluptuous collection was the antithesis of lean, boxy wartime fashions. Instead, feminine designs featured rounded shoulders, a womanly bust and a hand-span waist above enormous skirts. It was christened on the spot by Carmel Snow, editor of American Harper's Bazaar, as the 'New Look'.

The amount of fabric required to create a New Look garment - typically 15 metres in a woollen day dress, 25 metres in a short taffeta evening gown - caused outrage, for rationing was still in place. The collection was shown in secret to Princess Margaret at the French Embassy in London. But despite attempts by the Board of Trade to suppress it, the New Look was unstoppable.

Descriptive line

Woman's suit 'Bar' consisting of a jacket in tussore silk, and wool crêpe skirt, from 'La Ligne Corolle' (The New Look), designed by Christian Dior, Paris, designed in 1949, possibly made in 1955

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

Published in Four Hundred Years of Fashion, V&A, 1984, cat 169.
The construction and finishing is complex and highly skilled. The jacket is cut to fit tightly above the narrow (18-inch) waist, while below it has a deep basque (with pockets) which is stiffened, padded and weighted to create exaggerated 'teacup' curves over the hips. It is lined throughout in cream poult. The skirt is long (2'92) and very full (8 yards around the hem). An elaborate, many-layered petticoat of black poult and net ensures that the knife-pleated skirt maintains its line. The weighty skirt and petticoat are attached to a sturdy quilted waist yoke which fastens with hooks and eyes at the back. This was one of the most popular models in Dior's first collection which he called 'La Ligne Carolle' - the press dubbed it 'the New Look' and the name endured. He took the softer feminine shape - round sloping shoulder line, narrow waist and spreading skirts - to the extreme, and despite official complaints it was a resounding success.
Harper's Bazaar published detailed line drawings of the New Look's construction and 'Bar was also illustrated in Vogue and L'Officiel.
Published in V&A: A Hundred Highlights, V&A Publications, 1996.
Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 (V&A Publications, London: 2007), p.60-1
Vogue (British) April 1947, p.50
Illustrated and quotes "The Paris Collection". On p.47, "Dior uses fabric lavishly in skirts - fifteen yards in a woollen day dress... He pads these pleated skirts with stiff cambric... He has revived natural Tussore". This suit is illustrated.
Keenan, B., Dior in Vogue (Octopus Books, London: 1981), p.32
Image

Exhibition History

The Golden Age of Couture. Paris and London 1947 - 1957 (Victoria and Albert Museum 22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
Displayed in Costume Court (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1984-31/12/2003)
Displayed in Costume Court (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1974-31/12/1979)

Labels and date

'Bar' suit and hat
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Paris
1947 spring/summer (remade by Dior about 1955)

'Bar' is one of the most important designs from Dior's first collection. The tight-fitting jacket is corseted, while the hip pockets add width. The long pleated black wool skirt, padded with cambric, is exceptionally heavy.
Suit: jacket, silk shantung by Bianchini Férier; skirt, wool crepe with stiffened taffeta lining
Hat: straw

Given by Christian Dior
V&A: T.376&A, B-1960

(The suit was shown alongside Dior's notebook, detailing the technical specifications for the pieces in the collection:

Notebook
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Paris
1947 spring/summer

To record the designs for his collections, Dior created first notebooks, then charts. At this stage they simply included a sketch and technical specifications for the type and quantity of fabric, though later they became more complex. This information helped Dior to price the designs. 'Bar' cost 59,000 francs. The jacket required 3.7 metres of silk shantung and was fastened with five hand-stitched buttons.

Paper, with pencil and ink

Archives Dior, Paris) [22/09/2007]

Associated names

Cecil Beaton

Production Note

The suit is possibly a 1950s remake of the famous Spring 1947 'Bar'.

Materials

Silk; Wool; Taffeta

Techniques

Padding

Categories

Textiles; Fashion; Women's clothes

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection code

T&F

Qr_O75379
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