Monday, 11 November 2013

Fashion Time Travel

If we look into fashion it's impossible to dissociate it from time, it's not just about capturing the zeitgeist but also revisiting different periods in history. It could never be depicted in a straight line but as circles intertwined between one another. Multinational luxury brands not only push future trends, they embrace the past promoting their unique heritage and Christian Dior is no exception.

Christian Dior 1953 by Mark Shaw
Evening dress, Autumn-Winter 1953, Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw

A new book published this month in the UK by Rizzoli - Dior Glamour written by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni - goes back to the heyday of his founder through the lens of Mark Shaw. It's fascinating to be able to travel through time into the almost mystical atmosphere of couture from 1952 to 1962, when the photographer worked closely with the House of Dior.

Christian Dior 1960 by Mark Shaw
Romance dress, Spring-Summer 1960, Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw

His unique way of depicting models within scenarios of particular significance would not only tell a story but also reflected the 'mood'. For instance, this photograph was taken in the home of Suzanne Luling, Christian Dior's extremely popular couture director. Her apartment was famous for its happening cocktail parties.

Christian Dior 1958 by Mark Shaw
Lola dress, Autumn-Winter Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw

This was an influential period in Parisian fashion which reached American readers through the strikingly intimate photography of Mark Shaw. His freelance assignments for Life magazine featuring Christian Dior's exquisite couture creations are now gathered in an amazing book, which publishes many photographs for the first time. 

Dior Glamour by Mark Shaw
Book cover: Dior Glamour Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Photographed by Mark Shaw, Rizzoli

When looking at his editorial-style images and rare moments of Christian Dior during fittings it's almost impossible not to see him as a pioneer. To this day, photographers continue to be interested in behind-the-scenes images and produce different narratives with a wide range of fashion props, technologies and locations. But Mark Shaw achieved such a fine balance between fantasy and reality that it's incredibly hard to beat, particularly today when images tend to be either hyperreal or surreal.

Spring Summer 2014 Christian Dior show
Spring-Summer 2014 Christian Dior catwalk show

Other related blog posts:
Visit Dior at Harrods
Dior Couture by Demarchelier
Stars in Dior