1947-1960

Right at the beginning of the 1950’s, it celebrated the end of World War 2, and still the new silhouette made my Christian Dior continued.

Youth and confidence was at the forefront of society, and the teenager had arrived.

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The changing face of fashion in the 1950’s revolutionised the industry. There were bigger businesses, fashion was embraced by a wider population than ever before. Fashion had become a household word and there was a new language everyone understood it and want to be a part of it.

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CHRISTIAN DIOR

The designer who took a major part in the 1950’s, his post war collection made him a household name, and his new look re-established Paris as a fashion capital of the world.

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The new look was worn by royalty and international public figures.

This included Eva Peron

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Because there was an instant success with the new look, it meant there was a rapid expansion at Dior, he always named his collections and in 1948 Envol (flight)featured skirts worn with scooped back jackets/winged/stand up collars.

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Following collections, Dior created a straight skirt, horseshoe collars, used the princess line and models wore coolie hats.

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Diors new look silhouette was soon widely copied throughout the coming decades, the floral day dress was one of the most recognisable fashions of the 1950’s.

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Following the war years, men returned to the work force, and women were encouraged to return back to their original roles as homemakers and wives.

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The 1950’s was a very feminine decade. The women were perfectly groomed, they wore eye make up, lipstick, ear rings and gloves too.

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Audrey Hepburn was the best known and was the most famous faces that was copied the most.

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Heeled shoes began to appear. The stiletto heel became the equivalent of Diors New Look.

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Resort wear also became very popular, there were bustling post war resorts, it gave a rise to a new wardrobe of holiday separates. And people quickly began to save time for leisure time and activities.

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Beach wear styles were big in America and Europe, the French Riviera became a must have style and St Tropez had annual fashion shows. The first bikini was unveiled in 1947, and became very popular.

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Blue jeans became the uniform of teenagers,

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Although Diors new look achieved world domination, people began to turn the idea on its head. People grew tired of the restrictive, synched waist silhouette and soon came the sack dress. Dior also made a tunic dress.

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In London, Mary Quant started to use the silhouette, and in 1955 she opened her first boutique called “Bazaar”

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The Fashion Design department at the Royal college of Art was opened in 1948- the same year Christian Dior started his new look in Paris.

Vogue started a regular young fashion feature in 1953.

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Mens fashion had hardly changed throughout the war years however, now men started to move into the fashion spotlight. They wore brimmed hats, and wore suits.

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After the war years, attitudes were beginning to dramatically change. Men adopted an Edwardian style of dress, business men of London were the first to wear the look- of bowler hats, long line single breasted coats and narrow pinstripe trousers.

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Youths of south London were inspired by the “Dandie” style and adopted their clothing to create the aggressively stylish look of the teddy boys.

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Cool Ted

The teddy boys look was much more extravagant. The jackets became brightly coloured and trousers were narrowed so much that they became known to be drainpipes. Thick crepe soled shoes were added, and bootlace ties were too. These shoes were called “Brothel creepers”.

Hairstyles began to be greased back with Bryll Cream, and hair was often worn with a quiff at the front and a D.A at the back.

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The overall look was a combination of toughness and streetwise smartness.

Fashion rejected wartime wartime values of quality and Pop Art emerged.

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pop artists embraced commercial and particularly American culture, every teenager began to follow American fashion cults.

Rock and Roll had arrived.

– Juke box culture

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– Elvis Presley

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– Marilyn Monroe

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– Marlon Brando

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– Jayne Mansfield

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– Jane Russell

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Another Fashion revolution was happening inside the textiles mill. Science had arrived in textiles! Synthetic materials such as Acrilan and Orlon, Dacron and Poplin were developed and became available.

Together with nylon (invented during the 30’s) these fabrics took over from wool and cotton.

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Synthetic fibres were cheaper to produce, easier to dye, could drip dry and were crease resistant.

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youth was in the forefront of society and the generation gap was growing- youngsters were becoming more confident and were then determined to create their own style.

Teenagers had an earning power, many of them took part time jobs and affluent adolescents of the 50’s were to become the source of a budding youth culture which was to blossom into full flower power the following decade.

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