MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

Flamant Rose

2023.12.22

Text by Francesca Fontanesi

From the forty-eight meters of organza used solely for the skirts to the decline of the crinoline, the soft shades of pink beloved by Christian Dior accompanied the designer throughout his life. The childhood home in Granville and the flowers of his mother are encapsulated in the Flamant Rose, the dress that immortalized him in the fashion Olympus and was preserved for sixteen years in the archives of the Fashion Museum of Antwerp.

An Early Christian Dior Rediscovered in the MoMu Archives

MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp

December 2023 – May 2024

 

 

 

In 1947, Dior unveiled for the first time what would later become the iconic silhouette of the Maison, drawing inspiration from pre-war styles and giving birth to the iconic New Look, a way to use as much fabric as possible in a single garment that marked a revolution. Characterized by a flared skirt, a cinched waist, rounded shoulders, and a boned bodice, the Flamant Rose encapsulates this style perfectly: belonging to the Envol line–conceived with a distinctly asymmetric architecture–the evening gown testifies to Christian Dior’s ongoing quest for innovation at the age of forty-two. Adding volume to the back, the skirt evokes the tournure, a type of understructure used to support the drapery of ladies’ skirts in the late 19th century and heralded the definitive decline of the crinoline. Dior’s dresses were known for their exclusivity, and in a post-war era plagued by scarcity, the forty-eight meters of organza used solely for the skirt brought the designer both criticism and considerable publicity. The name Flamant Rose derives from the soft color gradients found in flamingo feathers, which have been skillfully replicated in the nine shades of pink alternating among the folds of the skirt, progressively deepening from the outer layer to the innermost. Pink held significant meaning in Christian Dior’s life: pastel shades evoked memories of the family home, Villa Les Rhumbs, and his mother’s rose garden. After resting in the archives for sixteen years, the silhouette will now be on display at MoMu, the Fashion Museum of Antwerp, until May 2024.

“During my investigation, I discovered all the characteristic traits of Christian Dior. It is an extraordinary discovery such as this that every fashion historian dreams of.”

– Bas Verwaetermeulen.

Initially, MoMu’s archival policies did not encompass a program to highlight Haute Couture; the emphasis was on avant-garde ready-to-wear. Following more meticulous internal investigations in the past year, it was revealed that the museum’s collection includes many more Haute Couture pieces than initially anticipated, such as the Flamant Rose worn on the runway by russian model Tania Janvier-Kousnetzoff. On the same catwalk, Christian Dior had introduced the Tailleur Bar during the Spring-Summer 1947 collection presentation, establishing himself in the international fashion scene. It is likely that this dress is a unique creation: in the 1940s, the same garment would never be sold more than once to prevent two women from wearing the same dress at an event. The Flamant Rose was donated to MoMu by a loyal Maison client in the 1960s, and it was brought to the staff’s attention through a loan request from a foreign institution. This garment impeccably embodies both Dior’s distinctive signature and the essence of the New Look. Thanks to its unique history, this dress serves as a testament to the exclusivity and meticulous craftsmanship associated with Christian Dior’s creations.

For further information momu.be.

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