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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris & London 1947-57

John French Model Susan Abraham 1953©V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

'Cygne Noir' (Black Swan) evening dress by Christian Dior. Silk satin and velvet, 1949. Given by Baroness Antoinette de Ginsbourg, V&A: T.117-1974© V&A Images /Victoria and Albert Museum

Bendigo Art Gallery is is home to an outstanding exhibition for Summer 2008-09. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum London, is being presented in Victoria exclusively at Bendigo Art Gallery. The exhibition explores one of the most glamorous and remarkable decades in fashion history. Starting with the impact of Christian Dior’s New Look after the Second World War, it looks at the work of Dior and his contemporaries during the period when haute couture was at its height. Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the launch of the New Look in 1947, the exhibition shows how Dior’s ballerina-skirted dresses signalled the return to luxury and elegance after wartime austerity. It examines the world of couture, highlighting the work of Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain in Paris and their London counterparts Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Other successful designers of the time - such as Fath, Griffe, Stiebel, and Michael of London - feature in a broad survey of the decade.

Photograph by John French. Model Jean Dawnay, 1956. © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

More than 100 dresses will be on display including daywear, cocktail and evening dresses made for society and royalty alongside photographs by Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon and original Hollywood and documentary film. There will be audio recordings, textiles and archival material such as bills of sales and letters. More than 95 per cent of the dresses are from the V & A’s own fashion collections.

Dress and petticoat by Pierre Balmain. Dress: silk grosgrain with Swiss embroidery; Petticoat: boned silk and net. Given by Mrs G. Sachet, V&A: T.349&A-1975© V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

To coincide with the exhibition The Golden Age of Couture: Paris & London 1947 - 57 the Gallery is also presenting a range of public programs, lectures and events. Bendigo Art Gallery is open daily 10am to 5pm (except 25 December).

Evening Dress by John Cavanagh© V&A Images /Victoria and Albert Museum

And if you're no where near Victoria then you can pacify yourself with a visit online to the V & A Image library at the Victoria Albert Museum.

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