One of the most celebrated figures in the history of fashion, Christian Dior's reputation was founded on the New Look. Introduced in 1947, the New Look silhouette presented an idealized vision of the female body: soft, sloped shoulders and defined waist accented with long, full skirts. Called Corolle (petal) in French, the collection was both a reaction to the material deprivations of World War II and an expression of Dior's romantic, yet precise and sophisticated, take on femininity. This nostalgic romanticism was most openly expressed in Dior's cocktail and evening wear, especially in the petal-like skirts of Dior's Junon evening gown.
If Dior's evening wear was extravagant and flowery, his daywear was the opposite. In black, navy or gray, Dior's daytime suits were almost austere in their simplicity. Precisely cut and tailored, they demonstrated Dior's ability to translate menswear into the feminine idiom. In the wool twill suit pictured below, Dior presented a version of the masculine suit softened only by the rounded neckline of the jacket. Dior even went so far as to mimic the look of a neck-tie by tucking and pleating the fabric of the bodice to create a trompe l'oeil knot at the collar. Despite its serious appearance, this suit has a surprisingly lighthearted name: Virevolte. A French verb meaning to dance or twirl around, it suggests that Dior's romanticism was at play in even his most austere designs.