Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Knocking Off Genius, Christian Dior

            Fashion designers can be a little brazen sometimes when they get inspiration from other designers.  The word “knock-off” is pretty taboo but let’s be honest it happens all the time.  I've had to endure this masterpiece of Haute Couture being knocked off on two separate occasions.  Then again this could be an example of someone “being inspired” by the source and then the next culprit copying them.  The age old Chicken and the Egg situation strikes again!
            The original source was the “Junon” dress, designed by Christian Dior for his 1949/1950 Fall/Winter collection.  Pale-blue silk net embroidered with iridescent blue, green, and rust sequins.  The dress resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection a gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953.

The original design that has been on display at the MET

When I saw press photos online for the Broadway musical “Wicked” I realized it was very similar to the Dior dress I've drooled over for many years.  “Wicked” opened on Broadway in 2003.  The costumes were designed by Susan Hilferty and the dress was worn by the character Glinda originated by Kristen Chenoweth (who rules!).  Ms. Hilferty won the Tony for Best Costume design that year.  The costume has been on display at the NY Public Library before, and it was described by the website as "Dior -inspired".  Perhaps she isn't shy; imitation is the best form of flattery.

Chenowith on stage with Idina Menzel
The writer of the book "Wicked" photographed with the 2007 cast

The second time I noticed a similar design was at the 2009 Academy Awards.  That truck filled with chipmunk teeth of a young woman named Miley Cyrus ambles down the red carpet wearing a Zuhair Murad gown.  Looks a bit familiar.  I wonder if Billy-Ray’s daughter knows who Christian Dior is.
Cyrus on the red carpet and the gown on the runway

               The sad part is that neither newer version really stands up to the original by Dior.  The moral here is; Leave well enough alone.  

Philip - in Brooklyn

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