All Hail the Master

by Erin on May 25, 2005

Dior dinner dress
You can't really see the detail on this Christian Dior dinner dress in this image, so click on it to be taken to the Met Costume Institute page so that you can enlarge to your heart's content. Or at least enough to see the buttons holding the drape along the hip.

I love this dress, I really do, although it is a full-day's drive past anything I would (or could) ever realistically wear. This is clothing as art, which is beautiful (as opposed to art clothing, which, with a few–very few– William Morris-y Liberty-ish exceptions, is horrific). In fact, I am so convinced that this dress is art-with-a-capital-A that I have a very, very large poster from the Met exhibit hanging in my apartment, and I am otherwise philosophically opposed to museum-exhibit-ad posters. But I will gladly put up with a little extraneous typography to be able to look at this dress every day.

I do wish, however, that I could see this on a live model. What happens to those side drapes when you stand up straight? Do they hang like panniers? Or stick out straight behind like tailfins? I suppose wearing something like this makes you incapable, physically and spiritually, of standing up straight. A dress like this compels one to slounge, that sophisticated combination of slouching and lounging. I wonder how many he sold of this model, and I wonder who wore it, and where, and I wonder if anyone tried to get him to make it in something shockingly vulgar, like hot-pink duchesse satin. Like all great art, this dress asks more questions than it answers, and one can return to it again and again and always find something new.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Designer Ella May 25, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Congratulations on coming up with a truly original blog concept! Let the fashion blogs take over the web!I’ll link to you soon, I’m so tired, sick, etc. etc., blah blah. I need me some cheer.


Jesse May 25, 2005 at 9:58 pm

The Manolo loves A Dress A Day!! V. fancy.


mb May 25, 2005 at 10:35 pm

oh wow. That dress is to die for. You are so right about the button detail..I don’t sew, so I don’t know how to say it but the shape of this dress is structured and fluid at the same time (or something). I am in awe.Yay for Manolo for letting us know about your blog!


Erin May 26, 2005 at 6:54 am

Thank you!


Shawn May 26, 2005 at 9:33 am

Where is this worn? Red carpet? Costume Institute gala? Beautiful dress.


pbird May 27, 2005 at 9:11 am

You are so pathetically correct about art clothing. Oh, how I hate that stuff! I say this as one who has sewn since the fifth year of life and I am 56. I also approve your take on this dress as a work of art. It truly is.


nanook May 27, 2005 at 1:51 pm

Yay for the slounging! And doulbe yay for the Manolo!(juliana)


queenmaggieI June 2, 2005 at 1:07 am

If she stood up, due to the very buttons mentioned, it would drape across her backside and turn u=into a sweeping train.sigh…


Anonymous October 13, 2005 at 1:32 pm

I actually have this photo.. lithograph.. It’s an exbition poster from the met. Gorgeous. But I have never seen it anywhere else… any ideas where I can find more liths like this?Monique


Erin October 13, 2005 at 3:12 pm

Monique — you can search on “fashion illustration” in most of the major online print/lithograph websites …Good luck!


Rachel June 13, 2006 at 1:02 am

Does one have to stand like that? BTW, I’m in LOVE with your blog. I die for classic dresses like these! You’re my new inspiration. And you write well, too!


criss May 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm

My mother, who grew up in NYC in the 50s and 60s, called this posture the “debutante slouch”. I think it was the mid-century version of today’s giant sunglasses, emo haircuts and guyliner.


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