'Maxim' cocktail dress
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Silk velvet and wool, with ribbed silk petticoat, and zip and buttons
Museum no. T.116toB-1974
Worn and given by Evangeline Bruce
The spring 1947 collection of Christian Dior (1905-1957) caused a sensation and was christened 'The New Look' by Carmel Snow of Harper's Bazaar. Dior offered the glamour and romance of full skirts and nipped-in waists to women who were tired of utilitarian clothes with boxy silhouettes, mannish square shoulders and practical short skirts. This intricately cut afternoon dress of black wool, named 'Maxim's', was worn with a black tulle cartwheel hat, long black gloves and simple black court shoes. To emphasise the bust, a large silk velvet bow was set into the low, square neckline and the waist was compressed by a cummerbund-style lower bodice. A heavy ribbed silk petticoat supports and defines the skirt. The dress fastens with a zip down the back .