Everything we know about "The New Look", the new Christian Dior Series
Fashion history is coming to life in Apple TV+’s highly anticipated new series, “The New Look.” Centered on legendary designer Christian Dior, the show promises a riveting look inside the glamour and rivalry of 1940s Parisian haute couture.
Slated for a February 2024 premiere, “The New Look” stars Ben Mendelsohn as Dior. It captures the radical impact of Dior’s first collection in 1947 as he revived Paris’ supremacy in luxury fashion.
The show’s title references Dior’s iconic “New Look” collection, which marked a dramatic shift from wartime austerity to luxurious femininity. With its nipped waists and full calf-length skirts, this new collection caused a sensation across postwar fashion.
Beyond Dior, “The New Look” also portrays fashion luminaries like Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and more. It unveils the behind-the-scenes dramas and passion fueling their artistry.
Dior’s Rise in Nazi-Occupied Paris
“The New Look” opens in 1944 as Christian Dior toils away in Paris couture house Lucien Lelong. World War II rages on, plunging the city into despair and scarcity under Nazi occupation.
Once the Paris front is liberated in August 1944, Dior finally branches out on his own in late 1946. He capitalizes on a pent-up longing for unbridled luxury despite France’s slow economic recovery.
In founding the House of Dior, the designer gambles on a radically indulgent aesthetic unseen throughout the sartorial restrictions of wartime. His bet pays off when Dior unveils his debut “New Look” collection in February 1947.
The fashion press and buyers are stunned by wasp-waisted jackets with rounded shoulders and voluminous skirts using up to 20 yards of fabric. After years of plain, conservative cuts, Dior’s silhouettes feel like a defiant celebration of femininity and excess.
Overnight, the New Look is a phenomenon. As Dior biographer Marie-France Pochna wrote, it “was a celebration of life, it marked a new era – and it was more than just a show, it was a revolution in fashion.”
Rivalry with Coco Chanel’s Masculine Aesthetic
Dior’s return to ultra-feminine glamour was a sharp rebuttal to the relaxed, menswear-inspired look that had dominated during the war. This brought him into direct conflict with Coco Chanel.
Chanel had revolutionized fashion in the 1920s with her understated, comfortable styles like the iconic little black dress. She believed Dior’s cinched waists and abundant skirts robbed women of liberated modernity.
The rivalry between their opposing visions will be front and center in “The New Look.” Portrayed by Juliette Binoche, Chanel bristles as Dior’s aesthetic triggers a retreat from her trademark masculine silhouettes.
“Look how ridiculous these women are, wearing clothes by a man who doesn’t know women should first be comfortable,” Binoche as Chanel proclaims in the trailer.
Their artistic tensions highlight shifting ideals of femininity and function in fashion. Ultimately, Dior’s decadence won out as tastes veered toward indulgence post-war.
Dior’s Expansive Legacy
Beyond the collection itself, “The New Look” also promises to explore Dior’s subsequent collections and far-reaching influence.
Within a decade, the House of Dior had expanded into fragrances, jewelry, furs and more. As Dior said, “My dream is to save women from nature.”
His vision made Paris the undisputed capital of high fashion again, inspiring a generation of designers like Yves Saint Laurent. Although Dior passed away suddenly in 1957, his legacy continues to shape icons like the Lady Dior bag.
For fashion buffs, “The New Look” offers an unparalleled glimpse into the calculating artistry and glamour of mid-century couture. Cinema and television have rarely explored historic fashion in such depth.
With Emmy-winner Mendelsohn as Dior and an ensemble including Maisie Williams and John Malkovich, the series has no shortage of star power either. Mark your calendars for a dramatic front row view when “The New Look” premieres globally with the first three episodes dropping on February 14, 2024 on Apple TV+. Subsequent episodes will drop every Wednesday until 3 April, promising a captivating journey through fashion history.
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