~~~~ We thank Stephen K. for providing much of this material ~~~

Some enlargeable

Books on Dior are listed on our Books Page.

Some related excerpts from SECOND ACT: The autobiography of Joan Collins

'Dressing for the ball in 1947',from a 1947 issue of Picture Post, a British magazine). Model dressing in 'New Look' clothes, starting with short corset,
then horsehair-stiffened petticoat, frill to emphasise the hips, and finally evening dress with tight bodice and full skirt.




Advertising copy from the 50s, when many of the pictures were manipulated to stretch the body and minimize the waist (especially during the New Look era - late 40s, early 50s).  Surely the models wore waist cinchers as well.







 Early 1950’s with the 'New Look' corsets needed to make the wasp waists
(from Bazaar, September, 1951).

[Rather erotic picture for an early 50s advertisement!]




Ben Zuckerman/Neiman Marcus -- 1953

Suit by Dior for Seerburger Freres,
winter 1951. Very fitted and curvaceous, with pencil skirt, tight jacket and tiny

(This one may be clicked to enlarge)

A very famous Dior outfit, the first from his first collection in 1947. Suit with long full black skirt, high heels, and very tight jacket showing off tiny waist (probably no more than seventeen inches.) The models in the first 'New Look' collection were notoriously tightly corsetted, to the extent that one fainted during the preparations for the show, though not on the catwalk.
(This one may be clicked to enlarge)


Dior wasp-waist dress: A model from Vogue in the early 1950's, (photographed by Irving Penn) in a very tight dress with corseted waist (probably around nineteen inches.) This picture also shows off the practice of fashion photographers of the time in pinning pencil skirts in
to fit the hips and legs as tightly as possible; the model would have to be unpinned before she could walk.

Princess Galatzine: A model from the early 1950's in a Dior outfit with tight black dress and trim belt showing off well-corseted waist (probably about twenty inches.)



Like during most other times, advertising the 'New Look' was oft times exaggerated, as in
this picture




January, 1952 Harper's Bazaar

Photograph by Paul Radkai


This is quite a magnificent picture for 50s fashion, 
and may tempt some to inquire if it is retouched. 
We assure you that it is not.

(above) Three perspectives from the New Look Dior era (Note the 'bum roll' on the left)

Balenciaga suit from 1948 with tight jacket showing off small waist and long narrow skirt; photograph of model Elise Daniels by Richard Avedon. Supposedly with 20" corset

 'New Look' coat by Dior, 1947. The model's       waist is corseted in,and the coat has a very
tight bodice and padding under the hips to
give an exaggerated hourglass silhouette; very full skirt below.

50s sheath

1950 suit with short tight jacket,
tiny waist, stiffened and flared over
the hips, and long narrow skirt.


John A. has pointed out a nice New Look waspie (and bra)





Model Carmen Dell'Orefice preparing for a defilè (fashion show)
(Vogue, 15 October 47)

...from Giorgio


Fashion of the Fifties in a London street (1959):
a wasp-waisted lady in a photo by Frank Horvat.






Pertinent article regarding this topic


"New Look" foundations




Stephen K.:

"Is she small enough for you? I think she would have impressed many Victorian ladies. 
From UK Vogue, October 1950."


ED:  A bit of the "New Look."  Of course, for advertising purposes, waist and other body sections are many times exaggerated...sure looks great, though!"


 'New Look' Underwear (1948) - video

Peter O. makes some observations:

"The 'New Look' corset was little used without a Christian Dior creation. Its only effect was the molding  of the waist line, and was uncomfortably short in the front and back. 'New Look' stylists tested the old corsets from the late part of Victorian era, but they were only usable by particularly long waisted woman. John Willie (Bizarre) thinks that as Victorian girls grow up in the corset, their bodies acquiesced to the form of the corset. And that was the explanation of their uselessness to Dior.

"However, Fakir Musafar made the New Look Corset longer and more comfortable. And that has basically become the Hourglass corset of today, and has no direct connection to 'the Hourglass corset' of early part of Victorian era.

"But for what reason was the the 'hourglass corset' of early part of the Victorian era changed to the  long useless type in the late Victorian era? And why was the late Victorian corset replaced by the Edwardian corset with a longer waist?! And why was the Edwardian corset replaced by corsets with extremely high short waists, before the waist line disappeared and the corset went out
of fashion for years?

"A logical explanation is: The Edwardian corsetiere's knowledge improved by that time, and this  knowledge was about shaping of the chest. But who has that knowledge today?"


Merry Widow Window

(above right) ...surely from a 'girlie' magazine



Further to the comments above, Stephen K. has scanned these advertisements from Harper's Bazaar,  August 1951



BB Bloomer writes:

"In 2005, the town of Granville (Normandy - France) celebrated the 100th Christian Dior's birthday, who created the 'New Look' fashion in early 1947. Guess you might be interested in the following:"

Ed:  For more information and images, see Stephen K.'s Tight Skirts Page.

Also, in 2005, Stephen K. wrote:

"The short-lived fashion of ultra-femininity that flourished and died in 1939, only to be reborn as the New Look in 1947, was heralded by the arrival in New York of a powerful new corset. 'The thing was first presented by the severe salon of Mainbocher on Paris' Avenue George V, gave women the wasp-waisted effect designers favor, and became the sensation of the Paris showings. A streamlined adaptation of the ancient corset, cut out on the sides, it was so stiffly boned that it made mannequins creak.'" -Time Magazine  


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