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Random Thoughts on Dior vs. Chanel

August 26, 2009

My favourite fashion era is the 50’s. What fascinates me the most about the fashion of that time is that it was dominated by two completely opposite trends – Dior’s New Look and Chanel’s famous suit.

So to find your own style was probably much easier than to try to make sense of all the different trends today. On the other hand, in order to follow one or the other, you had to take a stand and also follow a worldview. What made it a bit more difficult.

Chanel’s military inspired collarless jacket and below the knee straight skirt were the trademarks of an independent and progressive woman, while Dior’s narrow waistline jackets and full skirts were all about being feminine and resemble a flower.

Any of you who follow the Mad Men, a very spot on series about advertising in the early 60’s America, will know what I mean when I mention Betty Draper vs. Rachel Menken.

Betty, the wife of the main character, Don Draper, is a beautiful and bored housewife. She is the epitome of Grace Kelly in her flounced dresses and shoulder wave.

On the other hand, Rachel, Don’s lover (what a surprise!), is your opposite stereotype – confident, self-reliant businesswoman, often wearing the classic Chanel suit with a pearl necklace.

Chanel and Dior, or shall I say Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano, son’t have the same social impact anymore but it is still rather exciting to see what they have to offer today. Although they are still pretty much on the opposite sides of the fashion spectrum – Chanel features monochrome tailoring at A/W 09/10 Fashion Show while Dior  showcases luscious gowns in pink, purple, orange, etc.

The two fashion houses seem to unite their powers in their haute couture collections – both pay a tribute to furbellows (love the world!) with flounces and rich ornaments. See Dior vs. Chanel on haute couture front.

Oh, and the last thought before I finish my rant – Dior is pretty original in the way of styling the models this season – Geisha-style makeup to match the harem influence and helmet like hats (which are in fact thousands of hair pins).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dorota permalink
    August 27, 2009 3:07 pm

    I believe one’s own style has more to do with personality than the current trends. However your point, that these two can attract, makes sense by means of contradiction. I was always wondering which would be preferred by men… (out of curiosity!!!;) Now I can see clearly – BOTH!!! Dior – very feminine, flowery, associated with the housewife and Channel – businesslike, military inspired, associated with independent women and lover. Hope it does not always apply to real life!

  2. quirkyfashion permalink*
    August 28, 2009 1:25 pm

    I suppose your style is determined by your personality, so as long as you are being yourself you will do just fine!

    Also, I have to add that although I might have described our Dior inspired woman as freagile and dependent, Grace Kelly, for example, had more attributes of a “Chanel” lady as you would think…or even Betty Draper from Mad Men surprised me on a few occassions.

    So the two aspects of feminine personality are not so far from each other…

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