EYE CANDY

A Look Back at Dior’s Early Decades, Courtesy of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe

'Looking Over Shoulder’, Marilyn Monroe, 1962, Bert Stern.jpg
© The Bert Stern Trust

From his very first collection, which came to be known as the “New Look,” Christian Dior‘s impact on the world of fashion was undeniable. In fact, Dior moved at such warp speed that just under a decade after he launched his eponymous label, in 1948, he’d already named his successor: one Yves Saint Laurent, who, at age 21, embarked on his own star turn of a decade. These days, Dior is of course still going strong, and of this February, the first two decades will be the star of a new exhibition at Proud Central gallery in London, on view through April 7. With contributions from photographers like Mark Shaw and Norman Parkinson, “The Dior Collection” showcases the best designs of the era in their natural habitat: atop a who’s who of actresses and models, all apparently experts at posing without effort in what’s since proven to be some of the most memorable fashion photography of the era. The ’50s and ’60s turned out to contain quite a few pivotal moments for those featured in the show, too: Anna Karina, for one, is pictured just a year after Jean-Luc Godard discovered her in a Palmolive soap ad, while Elizabeth Taylor made her cameo just hours ahead of being named Best Actress later that evening, at the 1961 Academy Awards. Allow the pair of them, plus Jean Shrimpton and Marilyn Monroe—in what turned out to be the same year as her untimely death—to showcase the best of the house’s early wares, here.

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© Jerry Schatzberg

Jerry Schatzberg, Catherine, 1960, featuring an outtake from Schatzberg’s shoot for the March 1960 issue of Vogue. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Norman Parkinson / Iconic Images

Norman Parkinson, Marc Bohan on a shoot for Vogue, 1974, featuring the then creative director of Dior in the courtyard outside of his apartment. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© The Bert Stern Trust

Bert Stern, Looking Over Shoulder, 1962, featuring Marilyn Monroe in a backless Christian Dior Haute Couture dress at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Norman Parkinson / Iconic Images

Norman Parkinson, Travel in Style, 1949, featuring the Parkinson’s wife, the model Wenda Parkinson, in Paris wearing a Christian Dior hussar-style velvet-and-wool tailleur and black-fox muff. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Jerry Schatzberg

Jerry Schatzberg, Anna Karina, 1960, photographed in Paris. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Mark Shaw / mptvimages.com

Mark Shaw, Dior Gown with Fur Hat, 1954, featuring the model Eugenie Pompon wearing the “Clorinde” Haute Couture dress in Paris for Life magazine. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Norman Parkinson / Iconic Images

Norman Parkinson, All That Glitters, featuring Jean Shrimpton in a Dior dress for the November 1963 issue of Queen magazine. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.

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© Mark Shaw / mptvimages.com

Mark Shaw, Elizabeth Taylor in Yellow with Ivy, Side 1, 1961, featuring the actress in a spring/summer 1961 Dior Haute Couture dress for Life magazine, just hours before she won an Oscar for her lead role in Butterfield 8. On view in the exhibition “The Dior Collection” at Proud Central in London from February 7 to April 7, 2019.