Cygne Noir (Black Swan) thumbnail 1
Cygne Noir (Black Swan) thumbnail 2
+2
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Cygne Noir (Black Swan)

Evening Dress
1949-1950 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This evening dress of silk satin and velvet, designed by Christian Dior (1905-57), is constructed in two parts. The tight-fitting top is attached to the skirt with a series of complex fastenings. The skirt itself is very full and heavy, with panels of integral silk velvet that create the appearance of a massive bow, which Dior described as the 'natural ornament' of a dress.

The dress is typical of Dior's collections of the time, which featured flying panels and protruding angles.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Evening Bodice
  • Evening Skirt
Additional TitleLa Ligne Milieu du Siecle (named collection)
Materials and Techniques
Silk satin, silk, net and velvet
Brief Description
Cygne Noir evening dress consisting of a bodice and skirt, silk satin and velvet, Christian Dior haute couture Autumn/Winter 1949, Milieu du Siècle line, Paris, France. Textiles by Bianchini-Férier.
Physical Description
Evening dress consisting of a bodice and skirt of black silk satin, silk and velvet.
Dimensions
  • Waist of bodice width: 23in
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
'Cygne Noir' (Black Swan) evening dress (robe grand soir) Christian Dior (1905-57) Paris 1949-50 autumn/winter, Ligne Milieu du Siècle This imposing gown is from Dior's sixth collection. He wrote of this time, 'A golden age seemed to have come again. War had passed out of sight and there were no other wars on the horizon. What did the weight of my sumptuous materials, my heavy velvets and brocades, matter? When hearts were light, mere fabrics could not weight the body down.' Silk velvet and faille, supplied by Bianchini Férier Given by Baroness Antoinette de Ginsbourg V&A: T.117&A-1974(22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
Credit line
Given by Baroness Antoinette de Ginsbourg
Object history
Worn and given by Baroness Antoinette de Ginsbourg
Association
Summary
This evening dress of silk satin and velvet, designed by Christian Dior (1905-57), is constructed in two parts. The tight-fitting top is attached to the skirt with a series of complex fastenings. The skirt itself is very full and heavy, with panels of integral silk velvet that create the appearance of a massive bow, which Dior described as the 'natural ornament' of a dress.



The dress is typical of Dior's collections of the time, which featured flying panels and protruding angles.
Bibliographic References
  • Christian Dior: Man of the Century (Musee Christian Dior: Editions Artlys, 2005), p.120
  • de Rethy, E., Christian Dior: The Early Years 1947-1957 (Thames & Hudson, 2001), p.43
  • Miller, L., 'Perfect Harmony' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007), p.121 & pl.5.5
  • Dior Archives, Paris
  • Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971
Other Number
07232 - Dior label number
Collection
Accession Number
T.117&A-1974

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdOctober 17, 2005
Record URL