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Dior’s strong women

March 28, 2011

A while back, when I was going it alone on the blog-front I did a post about Anna Dello Russo, who at the time was my latest fashion heroine here it is. I lacked the discipline to keep my blog up to date, but posting with The Peg is a more powerful and enjoyable way to share. Anyway… its clear from my hotlist of femme fatales that they all embrace fashion but notably, colour. Using colour to project a persona of beauty, strength and taste is a theme I found recurrent in the January exhibition of Rene Gruau’s work for Dior at Somerset House.

Miss Dior, 1960

The variety of original painting and sketches to see in the exhibition was magnificent. To be in close enough proximity to see brushmarks, mistakes and fingerprints on images so iconic that by now they are part of the canon of fashion illustration gave a new a different connection to the well known iconography of the house of Dior.

The women featured in Gruau’s advertisments for Dior are of course cartoons so their beauty was inspired by women of the time and these imagined ladies are naturally, attractive. The adverts play with the concept of the female form being seen and unseen, whether their modesty is hidden by clothes or flowers, or tantalisingly lost in the translation of the artist’s licence. Gruau uses strong colour whihc promotes these muses as strong independent women and in more directional drawings, uses power dressing to further impress upon the Dior customer that the Dior woman is in control, dynamic and fabulous.

What makes me think that Dior and Gruau wanted to promote these icons of the liberated woman is that the Gruau’s illustrations of and for men were exclusively in a limited colour palette. A more simplistic range of adverts, perhaps they alluded to more misogynistic ideals that men were strong, couldn’t and wouldn’t be fooled by rainbow adverts or fripperies but I really felt that other factors were putting the man’s product at a less exciting and desirable end of the scale. This is because the mise en scene of the male was reliant on the hidden presence of an onlooker, presumably a woman because of the sexual connotations in every picture with the exception of those where a woman featured. Almost as though Dior and Gruau are saying that without woman, man does not matter! Wheras the women featured are strutting their stuff with no hint of a man in sight!

Fantastic exhibition.. somebody buy me the book for my half birthday?!

Great vid on the exhibition here too.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION: New nail varnish in gorgeous peachy shade at the weekend, made all the more fabulous by the fact that IT’S SCENTED! Yum I chose the Apricot Punch, smells like schnapps/bubblegum! Just beware of sniffing your fingernails too much, no one wants to be mistaken for a nose picker! 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. katypeg permalink
    March 28, 2011 7:43 pm

    Hoorah!! A wonderful first post estherpeg!!! xxx

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