The Principle: Define an Hourglass Silhouette
Christian Dior (1905 to 1957)
Then: After the severe restrictions of World War II, Christian Dior single-handedly brought sexy back with extravagant, ultrafeminine designs. Using yards of silk and taffeta in boned and corseted bodices and voluminous skirts, the Frenchman maximized the curves of women, hidden for so long under somber, conservative dresses. Christened “the New Look” by Harper’s Bazaar in 1947, the silhouette was controversial for confining women to corsets again. Yet women were captivated by the voluptuous fashion. “His style was very ladylike,” says George Simonton, a professor of fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City. “He put women on pedestals.”
Now: Anything belted, cinched, or nipped at the waist over a dramatically full skirt will echo the Dior look, a style that is surprisingly slimming. “The silhouette fools the eye with its shaping and construction,” notes Simonton. Try a fitted jacket paired with a flouncy skirt or even a 50s-style dress.