The launch of Christian Dior's New Look in 1947 marked the beginning of a momentous decade in fashion history, one that Dior himself called the 'golden age'. Celebrating the end of war and the birth of a new era, it set a standard for dressmaking and high fashion that has rarely been surpassed.
In Paris, couture houses such as Balenciaga, Balmain and Fath attracted worldwide attention for elegance and glamour. London was renowned for formal state gowns by court dressmakers and impeccable tailoring by designers like Hardy Amies.
The production of couture was important to the prestige and economy of both France and Britain. While traditionally catering for wealthy private clients, the couture houses also sought new markets. As the decade progressed, they created perfumes, opened boutiques and licensed their designs to foreign manufacturers. By the late 1950s, the leading couture houses had become global brands.