1959 -- Couture at the Kremlin

In yesterday's post, we briefly mentioned a fashion exhibition in Moscow that included our S/S 1959 Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior haute couture coat. Today, we look at that exhibition and the wonderful photos it generated.

In 1959 the esteemed fashion house of Christian Dior was invited by the Soviet government to present its latest collection in Moscow. The event took place June 12-16, 1959 and was widely publicized throughout Moscow with large street posters + signage. Twelve models, along with accompanying Dior representatives, presented the house's spring/summer lines in numerous shows in the 800-seat 'Les Ailes Du Soviet.' The latest Paris fashions, with their daring lines, bright colors + "short" skirts, were in stark contrast to the traditional, conservative Soviet garb.

The official poster for the exhibition featuring Dior star model, Ghislaine Arsac

Models arriving in Moscow. First off the plane is the famed model Kouka, wearing the aforementioned coat

Parade of Dior at 'Les Ailes Du Soviet,' 1959

During that exciting week, several of the models were sent to parade the fashions around the people + sites of Moscow. Along for the informal tour was acclaimed Life Magazine photographer, Howard Sochurek, snapping pictures the whole way. The faces + reactions of the "common" people en route is evidence of the cultural divide between Russia + the rest of Europe.


Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, 1959

In October of 1957, at just 21 years old, Yves Saint Laurent found himself at the reigns of the prestigious House of Dior. Many feared with the death of it's namesake and chief designer, the house would surely fall. Saint Laurent proved them wrong. His first collection in Spring 1958, including his iconic "trapeze" dress, was released to great fanfare and critical acclaim and cemented his status as one of the world's top designers. His exquisite tailoring + fabrics harkened to Dior, but his youthful exuberance and early success led him to push the envelope, perhaps a little too quickly. Saint Laurent was replaced by Marc Bohan in 1960 after only 6 collections for the house.

Pieces from Yves Saint Laurent's three year stint as head designer at Dior are extremely sought after + increasingly rare to find. That is why we take great pleasure to be able to offer this beautiful example of haute couture from the Spring/Summer 1959 collection.

This lovely spring jacket features all of the haute couture details that make collectors' mouths water! The body of the coat has a oversized notched collar, 3/4 sleeves + pleated front. The ultra wide attached sash is backed in thin cream colored leather while the faux besom "pockets" are actually just slits that lead straight through. We imagine that the intended under dress may have had pockets that would have matched up underneath. The sash also fits perfectly into the pockets so that if you're wearing it open, it's not left just hanging. Comprised of a beautiful, slightly shimmery bone colored wool/silk blend with hidden hook + eye closures. All silk lining. Truly a museum worthy piece.

Available at http://www.bustownmodern.com.

This particular coat is a well documented part of the collection. It appears in numerous publications and was even part of the historic exhibition of Dior in Moscow in June, 1959.

Photo from L'Officiel, 1959

Illustration from L'art et la Mode, 1959

Photo from French Vogue, 1959

Model Kouka arriving in Moscow, June, 1959. Photo by Howard Sochurek for Life Magazine

For questions or inquiries regarding purchase, please visit http://www.bustownmodern.com.