If only I lived in London, I would be crossing off the days on my calendar awaiting the V &A's Golden Age of Couture. The exhibition celebrates the art of couture and features work by Parisian couturiers such as Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga (edit. Spanish) and Hubert De Givency, as well as their London counterparts, from 1947 to 1957. The exhibition is currently occupying much column inches and coverage as it prepares for its September 22 opening.Remarkably, Vogue UK's October edition, is as it's editor, Alexandra S. puts it " a tribute to this rarefied, extravagant and totally glorious aspect of the fashion industry". A wonderful shoot, captured by Corinne Day, is opulent, feminine and utterly eye - catching, everything couture ought to be. Day as usual adds an edge to the photo story with a grungy city backdrop and even Jessica Stam hitch hiking along a country lane in sinuous Midnight blue Gaultier. Some of the photography is based on original couture shots from the '50s.
(Jessica Stam, below in Armani Prive)
Christian Dior launched his 'New Look' in 1947. He created a new silhouette and exaggerated the female form to cartoon like proportions. The 'New Look' was controversial in that it was both loved and scorned at. Some saw its sheer flamboyance to point to a future of prosperity following the hardships of the war years. Whereas others were less than pleased, finding the luxury and extravagance vulgar and out of tune with the tragic state of post war Europe. Nevertheless, Dior created one of the most iconic decades of fashion history. You do not have to be a fashion fanatic to be able to recognise those glamorous A - line dress as being those of the 1950s.
The '50s was the last decade of true femininity. Never again were we to see the ladylike glamour and extravagance of that era. Often nowadays women when dressing are willing almost to accept this notion that it is "A Man's World" and to succeed in it woman have to dress almost like men, all harsh lines and shapelessness. Even worse is the idea that women must fit the male idea of a woman and dress in a cheap, tacky way. The '50s was a time in fashion when women were happy to embrace their femininity. I just wish we could have the best of both worlds; be as successful and equal as women are today but dress in that beautiful fantasy of the Dior days.
Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn (in background) epitomise what is meant by feminine dressing
Here are some pieces which echo the elegance of the lost Golden Age of Couture