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The actual phrase the "New Look" was coined by Carmel Snow, the powerful editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar. Dior's designs were more voluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric. He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes; Dior is quoted as saying "I have designed flower women." His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form. The hem of the skirt was very flattering on the calves and ankles, creating a beautiful silhouette. Initially, women protested because his designs covered up their legs, which they had been unused to because of the previous limitations on fabric. There was also some backlash to Dior's designs form due to the amount of fabrics used in a single dress or suit--during one photo shoot in a Paris market, the models were attacked by female vendors over the profligacy of their dresses--but opposition ceased as the wartime shortages ended. The New Look revolutionized women's dress and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion world after World War II.
Dior died at the health spa town Montecatini, Italy. Some reports say that he died of a heart attack after choking on a fish bone. Time magazine's obituary stated that he died of a heart attack after playing a game of cards. However, the Paris socialite and Dior acquaintance Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Rédé stated in his memoirs that contemporary rumor had it that the fashion designer succumbed to a heart attack after a strenuous sexual encounter with two young men.
His companion at the time of his death, was the Algerian-born singer Jacques Benita (born 1930).
In 2006, singer Morrissey released a song titled "Christian Dior" as a b-side to the single "In the Future When All's Well." The song uses Dior's life as a comparison to the songwriter's life, where he seems to believe both have been wasted perfecting a single thing (Dior with fashion, Morrissey with music) and ignored all the good things life had to offer.
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