Christian Dior fashions bring breath of Paris: Sydney

Christian Dior fashions bring breath of Paris: Sydney
Cinesound Movietone Productions
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In a huge moment for Australian fashion, this was the first time original fashions designed by Christian Dior were seen outside Paris. The garments, including hats and accessories, were flown in ten packing cases to Sydney for David Jones' spring parades in 1948.

Dior enthused 'Australians have a cleaner, brighter outlook and are more receptive to new ideas than the tired people of European countries'.

Dior's first ever collection in 1947 created a post-Second World War style known as the 'New Look' which included tiny 'wasp' waists, accentuated bustlines and a return to a fairytale feminine ideal. Based on the shape of a flower, he used models with 20-inch waists (51 cm) to achieve the silhouette.

The yardage required for Dior's full skirts was a reaction against the austerity of the Great Depression and war rationing. In turn the voluminous look kick-started the fabric industry and the post-war European economy.

These fashions would have been out of reach of the vast majority of Australian women. The year 1948 was significant because it marked the end of clothing rationing, which started in 1942.

Each garment came with its own descriptive language – which we miss out on here because there is no voice-over available for this item. The narration typically highlights unique features, for example the second item is a sheath dress in black wool with a craned collar of black taffeta featuring a wasp waist and hobble skirt.

This newsreel segment comes from Movietone News A0857.

Please note this clip is silent. The NFSA holds the picture negative only for this newsreel rather than the final version, with voice-over narration, that would have screened in cinemas at the time.

Notes by Beth Taylor