Dress of the Year unveiled!

The 50th Dress of the Year has been unveiled at Bath’s Fashion Museum to mark half a century of the prestigious international award.

The award winning outfit was selected by Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor of the Financial Times, who has chosen a colourful embroidered and appliquéd silk cut-off ball gown worn with black slim trousers from the House of Dior in Paris.

Bath Fashion Museum;s new Dress of the Year! Christian Dior Autumn Winter 2012 Paris Haute Coutre Fashion Week. © Catwalking.com
Bath Fashion Museum’s new Dress of the Year!
Christian Dior Autumn Winter 2012
Paris Haute Coutre Fashion Week. © Catwalking.com

The haute couture ensemble was created by Dior’s new head designer Raf Simons, who took over at the world’soldest established fashion house last year to much acclaim. His debut was the most anticipated fashion moment of 2012.

Raf Simons said: “It is a great honour to have one of my debut Christian Dior Haute Couture collection’s looks chosen as Dress of the Year by Vanessa Friedman for the Fashion Museum. The way the museum’s collection is such a distinct document of not just fashion, but history in general, makes me proud that my clothes can feature amongst those looks and say something about today.”

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor of the Financial Times and selector of the Dress of the Year 2012, said: “This dress, or rather evolution of the dress, from Raf Simons’s first couture show for Christian Dior, represents not just a generational shift in fashion – the moment when a new designer took over at the ultimate French couture house – but also an aesthetic new direction. It signals a move away from the most escapist, extreme garments of the fin de siecleand toward a new 21st century, post-recession balance that blends functionality with fantasy, while at the same time returning to the essential values of the couture: making women’s lives easier.”

Winning design shows evolution of the dress

The heavy silk strapless cut-off ball gown is covered with a layer of fine tulle onto which is embroidered and appliqued bunches of pale blue and pink flowers, highlighting Christian Dior’s own obsession with flowers. The embroideries feature tiny silk petals, pearls, gemstones and metallic thread, all sewn by hand in the haute couture workroom.

The construction of the dress features an internal corset and bustier along with a silk tulle mini-petticoat that can be seen through a split at the front. The flared hip silhouette of the dress has been taken from the pattern of one of the ball gowns in the Dior archive, the original silhouette is sliced and shortened to form a short dress or top to be worn over the simple black cigarette pants. The look is accessorised with a pair of kitten heel black pointed sandals and a net veil by milliner Stephen Jones.

The Fashion Museum occupies the basement at The Assembly Rooms.
The Fashion Museum occupies the basement at The Assembly Rooms.

Fashion Museum Manager, Rosemary Harden said: “We’re absolutely delighted to give Raf Simons’s unique Dior creation pride of place as our Dress of the Year 2012. It displays perfectly the combination of ultra-modern design matched by the legacy and quality of haute couture craftsmanship and is now on show in Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum for everyone to see.

“This outfit shows that there’s a place for couture in the modern world. I am certain that by the summer this look will provide inspiration for young women to layer a pretty floral dress over smart tailored trousers.”

50th anniversary of the Fashion Museum’s Dress of the Year

The new couture look from the inspirational French fashion house is displayed alongside two other Dior ensembles from the Fashion Museum’s world class collection – dating back to the 1950s – which were bequeathed to the Museum by the legendary ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn.

Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “This is a fantastic Dress of the Year for 2012 and we thank Vanessa Friedman for her inspired choice. We are also tremendously grateful to the House of Dior for so generously donating this amazing couture dress to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum. The dress takes its well-deserved place alongside the other great names of fashion which are honoured in the Dress of the Year collection.”

This latest addition to the Dress of the Year collection means there are now 50 era-defining outfits as part of the Fashion Museum’s award, a selection of which are on display at the Museum.

The Fashion Museum has been designated as a collection of outstanding national significance and was listed as one of the world’s top 10 fashion museums by the international broadcaster CNN.

The Fashion Museum is open daily from 10.30am to 4pm (exit 5pm). For more information visitwww.fashionmuseum.co.uk or call 01225 477789.

The Dress of the Year event has been timed to coincide with Bath in Fashion, 13 – 21 April. Visit www.bathinfashion.co.uk for details.