Cocktail dress

Dark blue long-sleeved satin dress

Cocktail dress, duchesse satin flocked with black wool, made by Christian Dior, London, about 1952.

This dress could have been worn on informal occasions and would have looked elegant and stylish. The skirt of the dress is very full with a large pleat being added to the centre back seam. The whole dress is lined with blue silk which, coupled with the heaviness of the fabric, give the skirt the required weight and swing. The bodice is cut to give a sleek shape and the v-neck draws the eye down to the large bow placed just below hip level at the front.

This dress was probably not a couture creation by Dior in Paris. It is more likely to be part of a less expensive range sold through Dior's London outlet. However, it would still have been a luxury item which most women could only have dreamed of owning.

Christian Dior (1905-1957) had sent shock waves through the fashion world in 1947 with his 'New Look'. This gave women a more shapely hour-glass figure, a small waist and a fuller skirt. His 'New Look' dresses also used more material in their construction. This dress is a later more toned-down development, in that the skirt is still full but the whole shape is softer.

Gift of F J Camenish, 1960 60.92.1