|Monte Carlo Gown|
The Arrow Line
Christian Dior, 1956
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Designed by Christian Dior (1905-1957) in 1956, this short dress was worn by Laurie Newton Sharp, then-News Editor for Harrods during the store’s promotional goodwill tour to America. Press at the time described Newton Sharp as “the sort of impeccably elegant woman who carries an invisible mirror with her.”
Harrods News Editor described her much-admired personal sense of style thusly:
“I prefer to have a few good basic clothes, and then to be extravagant with hats and gloves. I would not buy a material that creases; or an accessory which did not match; or a colour which did not suit me. This means that when I begin to dress I can’t go wrong.”
And, she meant it. Newton Sharp was not shy about her clothes and had no problem making sure that each garment was perfect. For example, this dress was originally designed in plain white silk. Mrs Newton Sharp asked Dior to make a version for her in this custom-ordered, expensive floral print to suit her coloring. A top-coat of plain pink silk satin was added to the outfit.
The one-piece strapless dress of chiné rose patterned cream silk taffeta is lined with voile and draped at the bust and fitted at the waist with a slightly flaring skirt. The draping is held by a long bow which flows into the skirt. A heavily-boned bodice and stiffened petticoat help maintain the shape of the garment from beneath.
An article in The News Chronicle, May 7, 1956 recounts the visit:
She has the ‘secret of elegance'
by Jean Soward.
For grand summer occasions - a rose print short evening dress, with its own topcoat of rose pink organza by Dior (London)".
"I am taking no furs and no jewels… And my clothes are all off-the-peg - Dior (London) and Horrockses; I doubt if one can do better"... "For the American tour, Mrs. Newton Sharp will take lots of dresses with matching coats or jackets.. all by John Tullis at Horrockses. The London-made Dior clothes, too, are mostly two-pieces"...