Christian Dior's Bar jacket history: The evolution of a fashion icon, and how New Look is still relevant today
Tale as old as time
There are legends in fashion, but few can live up to the historic significance of Dior's Bar silhouette. The story is famous: in 1947, the world was in recovery from the effects of war and fashion was in a bleak state having been on the back of people's minds for years. Then came Christian Dior, who revolutionised and revitalised the industry and its people with a single piece of fashion: the New Look.
The Bar silhouette was so important because it represented a change of perspective, a sort of lifting of the hopes for women when fashion had slowed itself to utility. Fabric at the time was being rationed, and clothes were spare. The tailleur Bar that Christian Dior showed, an ivory jacket with a nipped waist and a full waist, paired with a sumptuous and voluminously pleated skirt, marked a return to beauty, luxury, and desire. It was taken up almost immediately — and the look went on to influence not just haute couture in Paris, but fashion the world round.
Exactly 73 years on (to the day!), the Bar jacket is still one of the most important codes of the house of Dior. Christian Dior himself was only alive until 1957, but the many designers who've gone on to succeed him — Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri in that order — have continued the legacy and evolved upon the look. It's perhaps testament to the strength of the Bar's design, of a deceptively simple silhouette that emphasises and enhances femininity, that even today it can be mined for ideas.
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