‘Emphasising women's hips’, Marlon Brando remarked, ‘is like putting falsies on a cow.’ He was one, one might think, an obvious person to make a statement about fashion. But this was 1947. The star who later made bike gear chic had just seen one of Christian Dior’s New Look dresses. Like everyone else, Brando was caught up in the debate which was driving two continents to the edge of hysteria.
At a time of postwar economic austerity, Dior seemingly emerged from nowhere to insist that clothes died down and his designs had been ripped off for the be luxurious, extravagant, beautiful and frivolous. When his first collection was launched that February, Paris was starving, bread rations had just been reduced