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What does Christian Dior's quote: “My dream is to save women from nature” mean?

Designer Christian Dior once said : “My dream is to save women from nature” , what does he mean by that?


The human form is diverse, yet somehow we have come to want a leanness which takes huge amounts of effort to obtain and maintain.

As the early 1900s progressed, a fleshy or plump look in women went rapidly out of style. People were exercising, the economy was thriving, women gained the right to vote and were granted greater opportunities for employment and self-fulfillment. Women's clothing shrank; flowing floor-length dresses were reduced to knee-length skirts and blouses. It was at this time that women began to dress like men–waistlines dropped, diminishing the appearance of the hips, and hair was cut short and neat against the head. The undergarment of the day was the combinaire, an elastic skirt paired with a girdle that reached across the entire torso. The effect was a flat chest and an overall curveless figure. This was the woman of the 1920s: thin, tall and narrow.

Femininity returned the following decade when breasts and hips reappeared on the female form, though that form remained tall and thin. This was the era of the movie star; women like Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow were iconic. The body-skimming bias-cut dress was invented during these years and required a full-length body stocking to create a smooth look. As the lovable Dorothy Gale in 1939's The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland's breasts were bound as she took amphetamines prescribed by the film's producers.

The war years celebrated a strong yet feminine female body, and as the 40s fell away to the 50s, Christian Dior's "New Look" exploded.

In 1947, Dior stated "My dream is to save [women] from nature," arguing for fashion's ability to improve upon the human body itself.

The corset industry boomed, with new models enhancing the bust and cleavage and minimizing the waist. High-cut, voluminous skirts embellished the hips, creating the hourglass figure found in 50s bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Women were womanly again, and any memories of riveting or any sort of manual labor was swallowed by a domestic, traditional life.

Dior's version of freedom from wartime restrictions on the use of cloth was a step backward. The New Look, aside from its much longer skirts, demanded "specialized corsetry that constricted the waist, abdomen, and hips." Dior designs of the 1940s and early 1950s all had one thing in common: They required the wearer to have (or pretend to have) the waist of a 15-year-old. He even built a layer of boned foundations inside some of his garments; there was no escaping.

The whalebone corset lives on, in the form of Easter-egg colored elastic Spanx, in liposuction procedures, in diet pills, in the Cotton Compression Undershirt. Above all, the corset's job is to restrain and compress, and that is exactly what it does to both our bodies and our lives. The day when we have the freedom to enjoy our bodies as they are, and most of all, forget about them while we do the things that really matter to us, cannot come soon enough.


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