Paris 1947 : The woman of fashion

Horton, Kathleen Elizabeth (2007) Paris 1947 : The woman of fashion. In McNeil, Peter, Karaminis, Vicki, & Cole, Catherine (Eds.) Fashion in Fiction, 26-27 May 2007, University of Technology, Sydney. (Unpublished)

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Paris 1947 is the site of one of twentieth century fashion’s fictive highpoints. The New Look combined drama and poetics through an abiding rhetoric of elegance. In doing so it employed traditional modes of femininity, casting the woman of fashion in the guise of an ambiguous ‘new’ figure: half fairytale princess, half evil witch. This fashionable ideal was widely disseminated through key photographic representations, Willy Maywald’s 1947 image of the Bar Suit being a case in point. It was precisely such mythic formulations of ‘woman’ which Simone de Beauvoir was to take to task just two years later with the publication of The Second Sex. Driven by frustration with the status quo of real women, de Beauvoir recognised the role of fictive representations, both textual and visual in defining women. This paper reads key sections of The Second Sex through a comparative analysis of two iconic images of French women from 1947; Cartier-Bresson’s classic portrait of de Beauvoir and Willy Mayhold’s spectacular evocation of Christian Dior’s New Look. Cued by a compelling range of similarities between these images this paper explores links between fashion, feminism and fiction in mid-century French culture.

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ID Code: 60751
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Fashion, Paris, mid-twentieth century, Christian Dior, Simone de Beauvoir
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design History and Theory (120301)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Please consult the author
Deposited On: 13 Jun 2013 00:04
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 12:03

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