At Here’s Looking Like You, Kid, Jaynie shares a feature on Christian Dior’s New Look fashions published in the February 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Here’s the most lovely conflicting passage I wish to direct your attention to:
“Dior said that the forward thrust of the hips was a way for women to advertise their childrearing abilities, so he was certainly tapping into the emergence of the baby boom,” says Timothy Long, the costume curator at the Chicago History Museum. “But there’s no surprise that that whole idea of hyperfemininity is going to continue.” Long is the force behind the current exhibition Charles James: Genius Deconstructed which sheds new light on the unique way that the American couturier-said to have influenced Dior- crafted his dresses.
Does this mean that those 1950s-1960s New Look fashions we find so sexy are indeed incredibly sexist — by design? Or is our fertile femininity to be acknowledged, even celebrated, without judgement? It’s nearly impossible to say… History teaches us just how limited and controlled women were in those times. And the return of such looks — can it be completely coincidental in terms of the current assault on women?
The Charles James exhibit is at the Chicago History Museum through April 16, 2012. Maybe if I can get there, I can figure some of this out.