evening dress
evening dress

Image Resources | Currently on View in Gerald and Dorit Paul Galleries (W308)

evening dress

Christian Dior, Designer (French, 1905-1957)


This semiformal evening dress is a classic example of the work of Dior, who considered couture no less an art than architecture or painting. The drapery achieves a sculptural quality; yet, paradoxically, the multiple layers of sheer silk chiffon convey an impression of near weightlessness when the dress is worn.

The gown has a fitted, boned bodice, seemingly supported by thin straps, that extends slightly below the waist. The bouffant skirt, supported by four layers of crinoline, consists of tiers of diagonally draped swags that swirl around the body, creating a dramatic effect.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Christian Dior introduced the tailored glamour of his "New Look" in 1947. This wildly popular and decidedly feminine style emerged in Paris in the aftermath of World War II, when fabric rationing was lifted. It made Christian Dior a household name on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Full bust, narrow waist, and ample skirts defined the New Look silhouette, and this semiformal evening dress is a classic example of the work of a designer who considered couture no less an art than architecture or painting. Made of brilliant red silk chiffon, the gown has a fitted, boned bodice, ostensibly supported by thin straps, that extends slightly below the waist. The bouffant skirt, supported by four layers of crinoline, consists of tiers of diagonally draped swags that swirl around the body, creating a dramatic effect. The only embellishments are two small flowers made from the same fabric as the dress. The gown, which retains its original attached interior custom corset, demonstrates the painstaking artistry of true couture. The drapery achieves a sculptural quality, yet, paradoxically, when worn, the multiple layers of sheer silk chiffon convey an impression of near weightlessness.

To the wartime generation, the New Look was the rediscovery of happiness and they embraced it accordingly.
-Dior biographer Marie-France Pochna, 1994

Object Information

designer
Christian Dior (French, 1905-1957)
creation date
1956
materials
silk chiffon
dimensions
L: 36 in.
accession number
2002.143
credit line
Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art
copyright
© Christian Dior
collection
Textile and Fashion Arts
colors