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Christian Dior

Christian Dior (21 January 1905, Granville, Manche – 23 October 1957)

was an influential French fashion designer, best known as the founder of one of the world’s top fashion houses, also called Christian Dior.

Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of France. His family, whose fortune was derived from the manufacture of fertilizer, had hopes he would become a diplomat, but Dior only wished to be involved in mostly fashion, but sketching as well. To make money, he sold his fashion sketches outside his house for about 10 cents each. After leaving school he received money from his father so that in 1928 he could open a small art gallery, where he sold art by the likes of Pablo Picasso.

After a family financial disaster that resulted in his father losing his business, Christian Dior was forced to close the gallery. From the 1930s to the 1940s he worked with Robert Piguet until being called up for military service. In 1942, having left the Army, Dior joined the fashion house of Lucien Lelong, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers. For the duration of World War II, Christian Dior dressed the wives of the Nazi officers and French collaborators. On 16 December 1946 Dior founded his own fashion house, backed by Marcel Boussac, the cotton-fabric magnate.

The actual name of the line of his first collection, presented in early 1947, was Corolle (literally the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English), but the phrase New Look was coined for it by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. Dior’s designs were more voluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric.  He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes; Dior is quoted as saying “I have designed flower women.” His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form. The hem of the skirt was very flattering on the calves and ankles, creating a beautiful silhouette. Initially, women protested because his designs covered up their legs, which they had been unused to because of the previous limitations on fabric. There was also some backlash to Dior’s designs form due to the amount of fabrics used in a single dress or suit—during one photo shoot in a Paris market, the models were attacked by female vendors over the profligacy of their dresses—but opposition ceased as the wartime shortages ended. The “New Look” revolutionized women’s dress and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion world after World War II.

The Christian Dior Home and Museum in Granville (Manche), France.

Dior died while on holiday in Montecatini, Italy on October 23, 1957. Some reports say that he died of a heart attack after choking on a fish bone. Time magazine’s obituary stated that he died of a heart attack after playing a game of cards.  However, the Paris socialite and Dior acquaintance Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Rédé stated in his memoirs that contemporary rumor had it that the fashion designer succumbed to a heart attack after a strenuous sexual encounter. Some even think that he died because of a seizure. To this day, no one knows for sure.

Some of his old designs

1950 wedding dress

 

 

Fro history

An Afro,

 sometimes shorted to ‘fro and also known as a “natural“, is a hairstyle worn naturally by people with lengthy kinky hair texture or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair. The hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, allowing the hair to extend out from the head in a large, rounded shape, much like a halo, cloud or ball.In persons with naturally curly or straight hair, the hairstyle is typically created with the help of creams, gels or other solidifying liquids to hold the hair in place. Particularly popular in the African-American community of the mid-to-late 1960s,the hairstyle is often shaped and maintained with the assistance of a wide-toothed comb colloquially known as an afro pick.

In the 1860s, a style similar to the Afro was worn by the Circassian beauties, sometimes known as “Moss-haired girls”, a group on women exhibited in sideshow attractions in the United States by P.T. Barnum and others. These women were claimed to be from the Circassian people in the Northern Caucasus region, and were marketed to white audiences captivated by the “exotic East” as pure examples of the Caucasian white race who were kept as sexual slaves in Turkish harems.It has been argued that this portrayal of a white woman as a rescued slave during the American Civi  War played on the racial connotations of slavery at the time so that the distinctive hairstyle affiliates the side-show white Circassian with African American identity, and thus:

resonates oddly yet resoundingly with the rest of her identifying significations: her racial purity, her sexual enslavement, her position as colonial subject; her beauty. The Circassian blended elements of white Victorian True Womanhood with traits of the enslaved African American woman in one curiosity.

During the history of slavery in the United States, most African Americans styled their hair in an attempt to mimic the styles of the predominantly white society in which they lived. Afro-textured hair, characterized by its tight curls, waves or kinks, has been described (sometimes pejoratively) as being kinky, coarse, cottony, nappy or woolly. These characteristics represented the antithesis of the Euro-American standard of beauty and led to a negative view of tightly curled and kinky hair; as a result, the practice of hair braiding and straightening gained popularity among African Americans.

The process of straightening the hair often involved applying caustic substances, such as relaxers containing lye, which needed to be applied by an experienced hairstylist so as to avoid burning the scalp and ears.In the late 1890s/early 1900s, Madam C. J. Walker also popularized the use of the hot comb in the United States. Those who chose not to artificially treat their hair would often opt to style it into tight braids or cornrows. With all of these hairstyling methods, if done improperly, one ran the risk of damaging the hair shaft, sometimes resulting in hair loss.

 Read  more about Afro here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro 

1970’s fashion

 1970s fashion, which began with a continuation of the mini skirts, bell-bottoms and the androgynous hippie look from the late 1960s, was soon sharply characterized by..

 several distinct fashion trends that have left an indelible image of the decade commemorated in popular culture. These include platform shoes which appeared on the fashion scene in 1971 and often had soles 2–4 inches thick.

These were worn by both men and women. Wide-legged, flared jeans and trousers were another fashion mainstay for both sexes throughout most of the decade, and this style has been immortalised in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever which starred John Travolta. The “disco look”, complete with three-piece suits for men and wrap-around rayon or jersey dresses for women, which the film launched, lasted until it was gradually replaced by punk fashion and straight, cigarette-legged jeans. Platform shoes gave way to mules and ankle-strapped shoes, both reminiscent of the 1940s, at the very end of the decade.

The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s. Jeans remained frayed, and the Tie dye shirts and Mexican peasant blouses were still popular. In addition to the mini skirt, mid-calf length dresses called “midis” and ankle-length dresses called “maxis” were also worn in 1970 and 1971, thus offering women three different skirt lengths.

In 1971, extremely brief, tight-fitting shorts, called hot pants, were a fashion craze for girls and young women.

In Britain and the urban United States, from 1972–1974, fashions were inspired by extravagantly-dressed glam rock stars such as David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Marc Bolan. Glitter was in vogue. Women wore high-waisted, flared satin trousers or denims, the latter usually decorated with rhinestones, tight lurex halter tops, metallic-coloured lamé and antique velvet dresses, satin hot pants, sequined bra tops, and occasionally they wore ostrich- feather boas draped over their shoulders or turbans on their heads. The 1930s and 1940s look was also popular, and many women bought their clothes at second-hand shops. The short, imitaion rabbit-fur jacket was a hot fashion item during this period. Make-up was garish and glittery, with eyebrows thinly plucked. Bianca Jagger, who often used an ebony walking stick, wore peacock-feathers in her cloche hats, green sequined shoes, transparent blouses, and carried an ivory cigarette- holder, was a fashion icon. The men often wore lamé suits, silver astronaut-style outfits, satin quilted jackets, wide-legged denims or velvet trousers, and rhinestone-studded shirts. Their hair was long and softly layered, or spiky, multi-coloured mullets. Clothing shops which became associated with glam rock-inspired fashion were Biba, in London’s Kensington High Street, and Granny Takes a Trip in Kings Road, which also had a branch in West Hollywood, California. Both shops had opened in the 1960s.

Platform shoes with soles 2–4 inches thick became the style for both men and women. Men’s ties broadened and became more colourful, as did dress shirt collars and suit jacket lapels.

Another trend for both sexes was the fitted blazer, which flared slightly at the hip. It came in a variety of fabrics, including wool, velvet, suede, and leather. The buttons were covered and the lapels wide.

For teenage girls and young women the crop top was often worn, sometimes with a halter neck or else tied in a knot above the midriff.

By the mid-1970s hip-huggers were gone, replaced by the high-waisted jeans and trousers with wide, flared legs. In Britain, they were often referred to as “Loon pants”. These lasted until the end of the decade when the straight, cigarette-leg jeans came into vogue.

The dancer’s leotard became an important feminine fashion accessory in 1974. It remained in style throughout the decade.

In Britain and Ireland, in the early to mid-1970s, there was the bootboy subculture which influenced youthful male attire with the “parallel jeans”, which were flared jeans that stopped at mid-calf. These were worn with heavy workman’s “bovver” boots, braces, (US suspenders), and denim jackets. Their hair was usually worn longish by the middle of the decade.

The wrinkled look for women enjoyed a brief vogue in 1975, as did flared denim skirts which ended just below the knee. Trendy colours were dusty rose, Prussian blue, bottle green, rust, and brown.

Fashion influences were peasant clothing, such as blouses with laces or off-the-shoulder necklines, inspired by those worn in the 17th century. Yves St Laurent introduced the peasant look in 1976, and it became very influential. Skirts were gathered into tiers and shoulder lines dropped. Camisoles were worn. Clothing became very unstructured and fluid at this point. Embroidered clothing, either self-made or imported from Mexico or India also enjoyed favour. Floral-patterned prints were in fashion. Fake-flower chokers and hair combs were often worn with the peasant skirts. In 1977, the ruffled sundress coupled with a tight t-shirt worn underneath enjoyed a brief popularity.

With the popularization of disco and the increasing availability and diversity man-made fabrics, a drastic change occurred in mainstream fashion, the likes of which had not been seen since the 1920s. All styles of clothing were affected by the disco style, especially those of men. Men began to wear stylish three-piece suits (which became available in a bewildering variety of colours) which were characterized by wide lapels, wide legged or flared trousers, and high-rise waistcoats (US vests). Neckties became wider and bolder, and shirt collars became long and pointed in a style reminiscent of the “Barrymore” collar that had been popular in the 1920s. The zippered jumpsuit was popular with both men and women, and clothing inspired by modern dance (wrap-around skirts and dresses of rayon or jersey) also became common. Neck-scarves were also used. Polyester, double knitting, skin-tight Spandex trousers, tube tops, and slit skirts were popular for a while at the very end of the decade. In 1978, there was a brief craze for transparent plastic trousers worn with leotards underneath. Silk blouses, spaghetti-strapped tank tops and shirt-waist dresses were also worn. Women’s shoes began to echo the 1940s, with high-heeled lower-platform mules–“Candies” made of molded plastic with a single leather strap over the ball of the foot or “BareTraps” made of wood becoming very popular. With the brief decline of disco late in 1979, these styles (which were by then being criticized as flamboyant) quickly went out of fashion. Designer jeans with straight, cigarette-legs, and painters’ pants then started to come into style.

The top fashion models of the 1970s were Lauren Hutton, Margaux Hemingway, Cheryl Tiegs, and Jerry Hall

Throughout much of the decade, women and teenage girls wore their hair long, with a centre or side parting, which was a style carried over from the late 1960s. Other hairstyles of the early to mid 1970s included the wavy “gypsy” cut, the layered shag, and the “flicked” style in which the hair was flicked into resembling small wings at the temples. This look was popularised by the stars of the television series Charlie’s Angels. Blonde-streaked or “frosted” hair was also popular. In 1977, punk singer Debbie Harry of Blondie sparked a new trend with her shoulder-length, dyed platinum blonde hair worn with a long fringe (bangs). Young men’s hair was worn long until well past the mid-1970s. Unlike the unkempt 1960s, it was often worn styled in soft layers. In California, the tousled blond, surfer hair was fashionable for teenage boys and young men. In the early part of the decade sideburns were popular. For Blacks in the United States and elsewhere, the afro was worn by both sexes throughout the decade. It was occasionally sported by whites as an alternative to the uniform long, straight hair which was a fashion mainstay until the arrival of punk and the “disco look” when hair became shorter and centre partings were no longer the mode.

Read more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s_in_fashion

My personal view that fashion during the seventies was very beautiful and attractive

Coco Chanel and fashion story

Gabrielle BonheurCocoChanel  19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971 is a French fashion designer.  She was the only person in the couturier field to be named on Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.

While she failed to get steady work as a singer, it was at Moulins that she met rich, young French textile heir Étienne Balsan, to whom she soon became an acknowledged mistress, keeping her day job in a tailoring shop. Balsan lavished on her the beauties of “the rich life”: diamonds, dresses and pearls. While living with Balsan, Chanel began designing hats as a hobby, which soon became a deeper interest of hers. “After opening her eyes,” as she would say, Coco left Balsan and took over his apartment in Paris. Biographer Justine Picardie, in her 2010 study Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Harper Collins), suggests that the fashion designer’s nephew André Palasse—supposedly the only child of her sister Julie—may actually have been Chanel’s child by Balsan.

In 1909 Chanel met and began an affair with one of Balsan’s friends, Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel.

Capel financed Chanel’s first shops and his own clothing style, notably his jersey blazers, inspired her creation of the Chanel look. The couple spent time together at fashionable resorts such as Deauville, but he was never faithful to Chanel.

The affair lasted nine years, but even after Capel married an aristocratic English beauty in 1918, he did not completely break off with Chanel. His death in an auto accident, in late 1919, was the single most devastating event in Chanel’s life.

According to local report a roadside memorial at the site of the accident was placed there by Chanel, who visited it in later years to place flowers there.

Chanel became a licensed modiste (hat maker) in 1910 and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris named Chanel Modes.Chanel’s modiste career bloomed once theatre actress Gabrielle Dorziat modelled her hats in the F Noziere’s play Bel Ami in 1912 (Subsequently, Dorizat modelled her hats again in Les Modes).In 1913, she established a boutique in Deauville, where she introduced luxe casual clothes that were suitable for leisure and sport. Chanel launched her career as fashion designer when she opened her next boutique, titled Chanel-Biarritz, in 1915, catering for the wealthy Spanish clientele who holidayed in Biarritz and were less affected by the war. Fashionable like Deauville, Chanel created loose casual clothes made out of jersey, a material typically used for men’s underwear. By 1919, Chanel was registered as a couturiere and established her maison de couture at 31 rue Cambon.

Later in life, she concocted an elaborate false history for her humble beginnings. Chanel would steadfastly claim that when her mother died, her father sailed for America to get rich and she was sent to live with two cold-hearted spinster aunts. She even claimed to have been born in 1893 as opposed to 1883, and that her mother had died when Coco was two instead of twelve.

In 1920, she was introduced by ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev to world-famous composer Igor Stravinsky (who composed ‘The Rite of Spring’), to whom she extended an offer for him and his family to reside with her. During this temporary sojourn it was rumoured that they had an affair.

Coco dated some of the most influential men of her time, but she never married. The reason may be found in her answer, when asked why she did not marry the Duke of Westminster: “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel.”

In 1925, Vera Bate Lombardi, née Sarah Gertrude Arkwright, reputedly the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess of Cambridge, became Chanel’s muse, and also her liaison to a number of European royal families. Chanel established the English look based upon Lombardi’s personal style. Lombardi also had the highest possible social connections. She introduced Chanel to her uncle, the Duke of Westminster, her cousin, the Duke of Windsor, and many other aristocratic families.In 1927 she built Villa La Pausa in Roquebrune on the French Riviera hiring the architect Robert Streitz. The villa has a staircase and a patio inspired by her orphanage, Aubazine. La Pausa has been partially replicated at the Dallas Museum of Art to welcome the Reves collection and part of Chanel’s original furniture for the house.

In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Chanel closed her shops. She believed that it was not a time for fashion. She lived in the Hôtel Ritz Paris on and off for more than 30 years, making the hotel her Paris home even during the German occupation. During that time she was criticized for having an affair with Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German officer and Nazi spy who arranged for her to remain in the hotel.[14] She also maintained an apartment above her couture house at 31 rue Cambon. In 1943, after four years of professional separation, Chanel contacted Lombardi, who was living in Rome. She invited Lombardi to come to Paris and renew their work together. This was actually a cover for “Operation Modellhut”, an attempt by Nazi spymaster Walter Schellenberg to make secret contact with Lombardi’s relative Winston Churchill. When Lombardi refused, she was arrested as a British spy by the Gestapo. Chanel was later charged as a collaborator, but avoided trial due to an intervention by the British Royal family.

Chanel was a very close friend of Walter Schellenberg to the extent that when he died penniless of cancer in Turin, Chanel paid for his funeral.

Some references suggest that Coco Chanel had close contact with another Nazi, Walter Kutschmann, who was responsible for the murder of thousands of Poland’s Jews early in World War II. He was transferred to France in 1943 where he became Chanel’s Paris SS contact. Kutschmann made frequent trips to Spain with Chanel with large sums of money passing between them.

In 1945, she moved to Switzerland, eventually returning to Paris in 1954, the same year she returned to the fashion world. Her new collection did not have much success with the Parisians because of her relationship with the Nazis; However, it was much applauded by the British and Americans, who became her faithful customers.

Coco Chanel vintage fashion shows from 30’s to 1983

  • I LOVE RETRO