Find out which fashion designers dominated the 1950s and 1960s with their elegant and timeless designs.
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Dior’s New Look
Dior’s New Look, which debuted in 1947, was an instant success and helped to redefine fashion in the post-World War II era. The look was characterized by a feminine silhouette with a fitted waist, full skirt, and narrow shoulders. It was a drastic departure from the boxy, masculine styles that had been popular during the war years.
Dior’s success inspired other designers to create their own versions of the New Look. Some of the most elegant and influential fashion designers of the 1950s included Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent. These designers created timeless looks that are still revered today.
Balenciaga’s Spanish Style
In the 1950s, Christian Dior’s “New Look” revolutionized fashion with its emphasis on a narrow waist, full skirt, and rounded shoulders. But there was another important designer working at the same time whose style was very different. His name was Cristobal Balenciaga, and he was from Spain.
Balenciaga’s designs were elegant and simple, without the elaborate details that were fashionable at the time. He is often credited with creating the “Spanish look,” which featured long, loose-fitting coats and dresses. His style was popular with wealthy women who wanted to look sophisticated and stylish, but didn’t want to wear the same kind of clothes as everyone else.
Balenciaga was born in 1895 in the Basque region of Spain. After moving to Paris in 1936, he became one of the most respected fashion designers in the city. He closed his fashion house in 1968, but his influence is still felt today. Many modern designers have been inspired by Balenciaga’s clean lines and simple shapes.
Christian Bérard’s Couture
Christian Bérard’s couture is the epitome of elegance from the 1950s. His designs were timeless and his clients included some of the most famous and well-dressed women of his era, including Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly.
Jacques Fath’s Parisian Glamour
In the 1950s, fashion was all about femininity and glamour. The most elegant fashion designers of the era wereaded by Dior and Givenchy in France, with Jacques Fath’s Parisian couture house a close third.
Fath’s designs were known for their simple lines, emphasizing the natural beauty of the female form. He was a master of using luxurious fabrics to create garments that were at once classic and modern.
Fath’s most famous clients included actresses Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn. His elegant designs helped define the look of 1950s glamour.
Jean Dessès’s Exoticism
Jean Dessès was one of the most elegant fashion designers of the 1950s and 1960s. His designs were known for their exoticism, and he was especially skilled at creating evening gowns that were both beautiful and unique. Dessès was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1907, and he studied at the Paris soirées paillette Lycée Carnot. He began his fashion career working for couturiers such as Paul Poiret and Jean Patou, before opening his own atelier in 1939. Dessès’s designs were popular with Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth, and he became known for his use of unusual fabrics and colors. He retired from fashion in 1968, but his legacy continues to influence modern designers.
Elsa Schiaparelli’s Surrealism
Elsa Schiaparelli, a Italian designer, was born in 1890 and died in 1973. After moving to Paris in the early 1920s, Schiaparelli started her fashion career by opening a small hat boutique in 1922. In 1925, she met Austrian fashion designer Paul Poiret, who introduced her to the world of high fashion. She began working for him as a design assistant and soon started to gain recognition for her own designs. By the early 1930s, Schiaparelli was one of the most respected fashion designers in Paris.
Schiaparelli is best known for her Surrealist designs from the 1930s. She collaborated with artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, and her designs were often inspired by their work. One of her most famous designs is the “Shoe Hat”, which was inspired by Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory”. Other notable designs include the “Pom-Pom Hat”, the “Lobster Dress” (worn by Wallis Simpson), and the “Tear Dress”.
Schiaparelli’s designs were not only popular with celebrities and the elite, but also with everyday women. In 1937, she became the first designer to launch a perfume (called “Shocking”), and she also produced a range of other products such as gloves, scarves, and even cars. Her business flourished throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but it began to decline in the 1950s due to changing tastes and Schiaparelli’s increasing lack of interest in design work. She retired from fashion in 1954, although she continued to live in Paris until her death in 1973.
Pierre Balmain’s Glamour
Pierre Balmain was a French fashion designer who was born in 1914. He was known for his glamourous designs and his use of luxurious fabrics. His style was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and he was one of the most influential fashion designers of his time.
Hubert de Givenchy’s Chic
Givenchy’s clients included Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, and Grace Kelly. He helped create the wardrobe for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, and Love in the Afternoon. He also dressed celebrities like Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1952, he opened his own fashion house in Paris.
During the 1950s, Givenchy’s designs were known for their clean lines and chic style. His “Bettina blouse” became a fashion must-have after it was worn by Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. The “Bettina” was a simple white cotton blouse with a Peter Pan collar. Givenchy also designed the black dress that Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The “little black dress” was designed to be worn with or without a scarf, and it became a fashion staple for many women.
Givenchy’s suits and dresses were popular among socialites and movie stars during the 1950s. His designs were featured in magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Givenchy was one of the first designers to use Schwarzennegger models in his shows. He is also credited with creating the “pillbox hat” which was worn by Jackie Kennedy during her husband’s presidential inauguration.
Guy Laroche’s Elegance
Fashion designer Guy Laroche was one of the most elegant designers of the 1950s and 1960s. His designs were known for their simplicity, elegance, and sophistication. He was a master of using color, texture, and silhouette to create beautiful clothing.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Modernity
Born in Algeria in 1936, Yves Saint Laurent was a fashion designer who brought a new level of modernity to the fashion industry. His work was characterized by clean lines, minimalism, and a focus on youth and accessibility. He is perhaps best known for his “Le Smoking” tuxedo for women, which was regarded as a radical departure from traditional women’s clothing at the time. Saint Laurent’s influence can still be seen in many of today’s top fashion designers.