Cocktail dress by Christian Dior, London. Organza 1957, Illustration created for the Victoria and Albert by David Downton.
Of all the books about vintage fashion that I own, this book is my ABSOLUTE favorite. If you're interested in this subject, you will definitely want to add this to your collection!
"The Golden Age of Couture celebrates a momentous decade in fashion history that began with the launch of Christian Dior's famous New Look in 1947 and ended with his death in 1957. It was Dior himself who christened this era fashion's 'golden age', a period when haute couture thrived and Paris enjoyed renown worldwide for the luxurious creations of designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and Hubert de Givenchy. While never competing with Paris in terms of glamour, London has proved itself a burgeoning fashion capital, boasting Savile Row, the undisputed home of bespoke tailoring, and prominent couturiers such as Charles Creed, Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell, who dressed debutantes, aristocrats and the royal family."
'Bar' suit by Christian Dior, modelled by Renee. Photograph by Willy Maywald, 1955.
'Bar', suit by Christian Dior, Vogue French Edition, May/June 1947. Illustration by Christian Bérard.
"The New Look required a complete change of accessories. Neat hairstyles replaced the flowing hair and complex millinery of the war years. Shoes changed from clumpy wedges to slim, elegant courts with narrow toes and high heels supported by steel rods."
Shoe by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, 1954.
"Although Dior went on to design many other important collections, the New Look caught the public imagination, and the long, full-skirted ballerina look continued to be a part of the vocabulary for popular fashions right up to the 1960s."
Evening dress by Hardy Amies, satin, c. 1950.
Evening dress by Victor Stiebel at Jacqmar, embroidered silk satin, 1950s.
Evening gown by Cristóbal Balenciaga modelled by Dovima. Harper's Bazaar (British edition), December 1950. Photograph by Richard Avedon.
"Superb examples of evening gowns, cocktail dresses and tailored suits from the V&A's collection are shown alongside fashion illustration and evocative photographs by the likes of Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and Irving Penn."
'Ecarlate' cocktail dress by Christian Dior. Red silk grosgrain, Autumn/Winter 1955-6.
Coat by Cristóbal Balenciaga, modelled by Lisa Fonssagrives. Vogue French edition, 1950. Photograph by Irving Penn.
Evening dress by Madame Grés, modelled by Sunny Hartnett, Le Touquet, France, 1954. Harper's Bazaar American Edition, September 1954. Photograph by Richard Avedon.
This book was "published to accompany a major Victoria and Albert exhibition" and "pays tribute to the impeccable workmanship and creative flair behind some of the most famous couture styles of all time."
'Zemire' modelled by Dior house model Renee. Paris, 1954. Photograph by Regina Relang.