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The Golden Age of Couture - V&A

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION focusing on Parisian and British couture between 1947 and 1957, a decade that Christian Dior described as the ‘Golden Age’ of fashion, aptly entitled The Golden Age of Couture, runs from September 22, 2007 to January 6, 2008 in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Dior’s launch of the ‘New Look’ for his first collection in 1947 shocked and delighted the fashion world, creating a new style that symbolised femininity. The full skirts and hour-glass silhouettes were considered highly decadent, synonymous with luxury, opulence and prosperity, following the austerity of the war years.

The Golden Age of Couture will display stunning gowns and exquisite tailoring from designers such as Balenciaga, Norman Hartnell, Balmain and Givenchy, as well as Dior. It will explore the creation of couture design from the post war era to the global success of the major fashion brands by the late 1950s, at which point fashion began to change, influenced by the ‘youth-quake’ of the early 60s.

The skill and craftsmanship of haute couture will be revealed, showing a glimpse of the lost world of the exclusive design houses, and the inspiration behind some of the most famous styles of all time.

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