Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
Save up to 20% on the price of your tickets!

It's easy... Become a member today! If you are already a member, log in to access your member rate.

Dior vs. Chanel: Mid-century Ideals of the Feminine Form

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, January 10, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0193
Select Your Tickets
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

The romantic feminine lines and chic textured suits that were the fashion vocabulary for women in the 1950s are admired even today. Following WWII there was a pent-up desire for opulence in high fashion and a need to put the limitations and restrictions of the war behind. Christian Dior broke out with a luxurious bounty of expansive skirts with tiny wasp waists reminiscent of the Beaux Arts corsets.

Coco Chanel, securely ensconced in Switzerland throughout the war, returned to Paris and her design roots. She created a suit that was the antithesis of the “New Look.” Her signature suits were about ease of movement with a classic rectangular silhouette and extraordinary hidden details that made it exceedingly comfortable to wear.

Join design historian Elizabeth Lay as she looks at the seeds of each style, how the materials were sourced, how they were promoted, and who bought these marvelous designs. She shares fashion photography from the 1950s plus behind-the-scenes snapshots and gives voice to each designer’s ideas. She also examines the minute details of haute couture that set these fashions apart from the ordinary.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.