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The A-Line Skirt: Shocking Curves
To add an element of drama to an outfit, consider the flared shape of an A-line skirt. Read on to learn more about this basic silhouette.
With its high, narrow waist and full shape, the A-line skirt seems today like women’s fashion at its most traditional. But when French designer Christian Dior presented it as the cornerstone of his first spring-summer collection, it caused an international stir. In 1947, World War II and its rationing of fabric were very recent memories; skirts tended to hang loose and straight from the hips to just below the knee, and the aesthetic of the military uniform lingered in square shoulders and boxy silhouettes. Now, here was a great bell of fabric, often delicately gathered or pleated, that bloomed from waist to calf in outrageous quantity—20 yards of black wool were required to form the skirt of Dior’s iconic Bar suit. The look was immediately raved about and, in some corners, denounced as frivolous.
Dior didn’t see it that way. He would later call his style “the return to an ideal of civilized happiness,” and while his collection became known as the New Look in the press, he himself gave the line the name Corolle—turning the women he dressed from soldiers into flowers. Today’s A-lines tend to be less lush (and less frequently pleated), with lengths ranging from mid-thigh to ankle, but their association with a classic femininity tends to remain.