All Hail the Master

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.jpgnk 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.

0 thoughts on “All Hail the Master

  1. 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.


  2. 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!


  3. 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.


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


  5. 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


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


  7. 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!


  8. 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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