Dressing Up, Dressing Down

Back to item narrative

cocktail dress Christian Dior, Ligne ZigZag, 1948 2012.16

Object Name: cocktail dress

Artist/Maker: Christian Dior, Paris
Place of Creation: Europe, France, Paris
Date: 1950

Accession Number: 2012.16
Image Copyright: ©Manchester City Galleries
Credit: [image copyright] Christie's, South Kensington

Physical Description

Medium / Material
  • silk

Cocktail dress in black silk satin; short cap sleeves, v neck line, single breasted, fastening with 5 self fabric covered buttons, spiralling tiered skirt. Unlabelled but probably Dior's Autumne/Hiver 1950 Oblique line.
Belonged to the private collector, BillyBoy*, the artist and art collector who has been collecting top-end couture for 40 years and who lives in Switzerland. He bought it in the 1970s on the advice of Mr Francois Lesage from a woman in Paris, who also owned a labelled Martinique ball gown (lot 80), and who wore Dior exclusively in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Dior introduced his Oblique or 'slanted' line for AW 1950 and had models with skirt which had diagonally slanted tucks (see American Vogue, 1 Sept 1950, p.132. See Dior in Vogue, p. 71 for another model with a short black crepe evening dress 'with diagonal tucks' slanted to one side. Also French Vogue Sept 1951 for a very similar skirt by Dior (p.41)

The dress was said by the vendor to be Dior's ZigZag line of 1948 and there are some similarities: see sketch showing similar skirt in Alexandra Palmer: Dior (V&A 2009) p.59. Also L'Officiel, Avril 1948 p.76 'La ligne Zig-zag de Christian Dior'. with similar skirt.