In the sphere of luxury fashion, Dior’s richness of history is practically unparalleled. As stylist Kate Young says, Dior dresses “make the images that really symbolize time and moments in fashion history that are so essential.” The brand’s evolution is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum’s “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition (through Feb. 20, 2022), where the latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, was filmed. In the episode, Young takes us through Dior’s aesthetic trajectory—one contoured by fluctuations in style, historical context, and creative leadership.
Young begins with the conception of the brand by Christian Dior, in 1946. As she explains, French women’s clothing at the time was utilitarian and pared down to the essential, as World War II had recently ended. In contrast to this trend, Dior made headlines upon his introduction of the “New Look,” an elegant hourglass style characterized by a wasp waist and a full skirt. An essential component of this first collection was the Bar jacket—a highly structured piece with a cinched waist and a full, padded hip. The full skirt symbolized luxury and excess, which, Young explains, were initially seen as quite scandalous in the postwar era. Soon, the look garnered attention in America, and Dior quickly rose to international fame.
Young goes on to discuss Dior’s death in 1957, at the age of 52, and the house’s evolution thereafter. As she explains, Christian Dior was very superstitious, often relying on psychics and tarot card readers to predict his future. So, when he died suddenly, he had already named the person who would succeed him: Yves Saint Laurent, a then unknown 21-year-old assistant at the atelier. Although Saint Laurent’s directorship lasted only four years, his leadership marked a distinct turn away from the New Look and toward a younger, looser silhouette.
Young then profiles Saint Laurent’s successors, including Mark Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, and Raf Simons. She notes that Galliano was particularly revolutionary for the brand. “He broke down the codes, he made things different,” Young says. She highlights one Galliano design in particular: a yellow-green floor-length gown worn by Nicole Kidman to the 1997 Oscars. “This dress is maybe why I do my job,” Young says. “I love the idea of the best dress in fashion on the most exciting woman at any given time, and that image sort of symbolizing the world we’re living in at the time.”
Young ends the video by describing the ongoing influence of Maria Grazia Chiuri, who came to the house in 2016 as its first female design director. Chiuri, Young says, adeptly walks the line between incorporating political activism and modern artists’ work into her own, while also staying true to the essential codes of the house. “Her work is really an homage to her time, to feminism, and to Mr. Dior himself,” she says.
While Dior will intrigue for decades to come, the brand is made exceptional by virtue of its storied past as well as the codes that have become embedded in its foundation over time. “There’s so much to explore, and understand, and explain,” Young says. “Not every house can have an exhibition like this. Not every house is able to create so much beauty and so much visual language that we all can relate to.”
Watch new and previous episodes of Kate Young’s YouTube show Hello Fashion at youtube.com/kateyoung.
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A recurring theme in design critic Alexandra Lange’s work is unpacking how—and for whom—objects and spaces are designed.The Dot-Com City, and surveyed how kids’ toys and physical environments impact their development in her 2018 book, The Design of Childhood. The ways in which outdoor public spaces, with their basketball courts, playgrounds, and skate parks, fail teen girls wa story she wrote for Bloomberg CityLab—one of many publications she has contributed to over the past two-plus decades.
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May’s colors, textures, and sense of renewal seem to be essential ingredients in Paris-based artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet’s exuberant work. A self-described “spring and summer boy,” his expressive drawings—often made in watercolor or oil pas
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For most of the 20th century, breaking a sweat was seen as unladylike. Popular opinion considered working out dangerous
One afternoon in February of 1966, Stewart Brand took half a tab of LSD, sat on a rooftop in San Francisco’s North Beach
Eating ramen is a multisensory experience: the fragrant steam coming off of the broth, the slurping sound of enjoying thThe Art of the Ramen Bowl” (March 18–July 5) that’s on view at the Los Angeles location of Japan House, an initiative with additional hubs in Londonburi, the porcelain receptacles in which ramen is traditionally served, and renge, the compact, teardrop-shaped spoons that often accompany them, made by 30 leading artists, architects, and designers.
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A Fictional World Created by Toyin Ojih Odutola Calls Into Question Real-Life Systems of Power and Gender
New York–based Nigerian artist Toyin Ojih Odutola often uses her creations—eclectic multimedia drawings and works on papA Countervailing Theory” currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. through April 3, 2022, are possiblyIntersections,” a new body of work by artist Sanford Biggers, who was the guest on Ep. 66 of our At a Distance podcast, on view through Jan. 9, 2022.) Commissioned by the Barbican Art Gallery in London, where it was presented from August
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Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists Translate Nature’s Sonic Landscapes Into an Emotive Spectacle
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In 1847, French jeweler Louis-François Cartier established a business that bore his last name and specialized in jewels
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Since 1915, New York Public Library users in search of visual information have consulted its Picture Collection. It consists of images cut from magazines, catalogues, and books, each glued to backings and organized into folders enc
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In branding and marketing, animal imagery abounds: Lacoste’s crocodile, Bacardi’s bat, Geico’s gecko, Swarovski’s swan, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), animals appear in approximately 20 percent of all advertisements. These creatures, however, receive little to n
In Chicago, more than 10,000 city-owned lots currently sit vacant, concentrated within predominantly Black and brown comChicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Now, as the latter biennial’s 2021 artistic director, Brown further expands upon his project, using it to info
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Floral jewelry has been a tradition of the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels since it opened its first boutique atFlorae” (on view through November 14), presented alongside floret-filled photographs by Japanese photographer and film directo
In 1983, French photographer Simon Chaput arrived in New York City for a weeklong trip, and ended up staying for nearly –1991) in California and Japan to “The Floating Piers” (2014–2016) in Italy. Along the way, in 1984, Chaput met the artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who recognized Chaput’s love oNew York,” which he began in 1996, that chronicled the developing built environment of Lower Manhattan.
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Several years ago, Claus Sendlinger began contemplating ways to address his concerns about overdevelopment in the boutiqSlow, a hospitality venture dedicated to creating places that draw upon their locations’ culture, environment, and history aagriturismo (farmhouse retreat) called La Granja. The working farm practices regenerative agriculture, and teaches visitors how it
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To stay healthy, we know that our bodies need nourishment, hygiene, and exercise. According to those who study neuroaestEp. 34 of our At a Distance podcast) who runs the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab)—an initiative at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine that connects brain scientists with artists to Arts + Health & Wellbeing, an immersive online tool kit that offers visitors an engaging dose of art, and consequent mental fitness, from anywherEp. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast.)
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Debates about whether encyclopedic museums—institutions that collect and contextualize cultural artifacts across time an—should act as more than mere repositories date back decades, but have taken on a new urgency as of late. Now, institutioEp. 12 of our At a Distance podcast), tackled these topics through interviews with nearly 30 leaders, and compiled the conversations in a new book, Under Discussion: The Encyclopedic Museum (Getty Publications). We recently spoke with Grau about the future of institutions and the layered, ever-evolving narra What central issues do encyclopedic museums face today, and what prompted you to explore them?
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Frustrated by the high cost of wellness in America, Brooklyn-based journalist Annie Daly set out to find meaningful alteDestination Wellness: Global Secrets for Better Living Wherever You Are (Chronicle Prism), out May 11. What may sound like a travel writer’s cushy, decidedly pre-Covid boondoggle in fact offer
Italian jewelry designer Elsa Peretti, who passed away on March 18, is a constant inspiration to stylist Kate Young’s lifourth episode of her YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, surveying some of the brilliant things Peretti made in her lifetime. Young begins by discu
The British-born, Brooklyn-based philosopher Simon Critchley has no shortage of interests. He’s written, in his refreshiThe New York Times, where he moderates its contemporary thinkers opinion forum, The Stone. For his forthcoming book, Bald (Yale University Press), out April 27, Critchley—who teaches philosophy at The New School for Social Research, and was tEp. 42 of our Time Sensitive podcast and Ep. 3 of our At a Distance podcast—compiled 35 of his favorite Times essays, forming an engaging series of short reads that suggest new ways of understanding the world. We recently spoke w