Two Woman's Blouses by Christian Dior
Virevolte Collection

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Clothing and Dress


Two Woman's Blouses by Christian Dior
Virevolte Collection




Waist measurement: 26 inches (66.04 cm)
Hem/hip circumference: 34 inches (86.36 cm)
Length: 21 inches (53.34 cm)


Dominating post-World War II fashion, the House of Christian Dior set a precedent that still carries its legacy today. Christian Dior (1905-1957) began his career in fashion working for designer Robert Piguet (1898-1953) prior to World War II. In 1942, he joined the house of Lucien Lelong (1889-1958), and finally opened his own Maison in 1946. Dior became an overnight sensation with the introduction of “Corolle,” his first collection of women’s clothing that included voluminous skirts, fitted bodices, and long hemlines. Many people didn’t like these new silhouettes because they were so different from clothing made under wartime restrictions; however, the garments heralded a new hopeful attitude after the end of the war. “Corolle” translates into English as a circlet of flowers or flower petals; Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Carmel Snow originated the name for which this line is more commonly known, “The New Look.”

Dior became a pioneer in fashion, constantly presenting innovative silhouettes and designs. He established the commercialization of Parisian fashion on a global scale with his ready-to-wear lines. Christian Dior’s couture house brought the spotlight back to Paris as the fashion capitol, a heritage that continues to be emphasized in today’s industry.

Mrs. Elizabeth Parke Firestone (1897-1990) owned and wore the two Christian Dior Boutique suit blouses donated to the university in 1991. According to The Henry Ford Museum, which holds an extensive collection of Firestone artifacts including many garments worn by Mrs. Firestone, she was often found in lists of the “best dressed” women at an event or during the social season.

Coming from a well-known business family and marrying into another, Mrs. Firestone developed and presented a refined sense of fashion, working closely with designers through correspondence and personal visits to commission her style standards. One of the designers she favored was Christian Dior. Records at The Henry Ford Museum include a note to Marguerite Carre indicating that the Firestones would be sailing to Paris on September 28, 1955 and asking if “Mr. Dior could do some especially beautiful wool gown for me.” (THF 120740) The blouses may have been acquired during this trip.

The silk organza blouses, off-white and navy, are from the Virevolte collection, introduced in the fall/winter of 1955. “Virevolte” translates as twirl or dance. The line features an unusual treatment around the neck, with tucks and pleats creating a rounded accent to the more austere lines of the bodice.

The House of Christian Dior is unique when it comes to the labels placed inside their garments. Labels commonly reflected the different enterprises of Dior’s business, with separate label collections created to match the various ready-to-wear lines that were produced. Both of the blouses have the same exact label, stating “Boutique Christian Dior Paris” but with two different identification numbers. The labels, each folded to a point almost hiding the words “Made in France,” were used on garments made until the late 1960s.

Each light-weight, sheer blouse is made of silk. The fashion fabric is a plain weave silk made with light over-twisted warp and weft yarns that create a delicate crepe fabric. Two more layers of a very fine sheer plain weave silk have been used for the interlining and lining. One layer is sewn with the outer silk as if they were a single piece, having been hand sewn together along the edges. The inner lining is used only to cover the body of the blouse, not the cap sleeves or below the waistline. The seams and darts are machine sewn, but most of the finishing work, including installing the back zippers, was hand sewn.

Elegantly constructed, the Dior blouses were also made to be functional. Most likely part of a larger ensemble, they were not made to be seen from the waist down – as exemplified by the extended zipper and short tabs attached to the hand rolled hem. These short tabs were either attached to garters Mrs. Firestone used to both keep her blouse down and her stockings up, or not attached to garters and just used to keep the blouse in place. The single lining fabric below the waistline allows for the bodice to stay securely tucked into the skirt while simultaneously reducing its bulk.

The blouses are shaped with darts on both the front and back to conform to the corseted figure popular in the 1950s. The short sleeves and draped front neck, with a gusset under the arm, are testament to the unusual design and cutting technique of the Dior Boutique. Dior mimicked the look of a neck-tie by tucking and pleating the fabric of the bodice to create a tromp l’oeil knot at the collar. One side of the draped neckline hides metal snaps to secure the collar, which wraps around the neck to the center back zipper, in place. This zipper, closed at the bottom, extends several inches beyond the bottom of the blouse.

Known for his emphasis on the feminine figure and tailored styling, these blouses are examples of Christian Dior’s iconic looks, as represented in the nipped-in waist, vertical pleats, and unusual piecing. The Virevolte Collection from 1955 suggests Dior’s romanticism, even when his daytime suits were more austere and often in black, navy, or gray. The cut, construction, and tailoring of the “Virevolte” collection demonstrated Dior’s capacity to be able to transform menswear into a more feminine ideal.

When one hears the name “Christian Dior” in today’s society, the rich history of the house that has spanned decades continues on, intertwining with its current innovative success. As a connoisseur of high-fashion, Mrs. Elizabeth Parke Firestone remained a faithful customer. The two Christian Dior Boutique Paris blouses donated to the university's collection are indicative of the authenticity, understated extravagance, and craftsmanship that went into every design. The iconography of a Dior silhouette transcends time, with these two blouses forever being preserved as original articles conceptualized by the maestro himself. Classic and timeless, Christian Dior’s designs live on and are constantly reinvented, a nod to his creative and technical expertise.


Virevolte Suit, 1955 at FIDM donated by Mrs. Herbert Lawrence, #81.443.1A-C

Administration of the Vintage Fashion Guild. 2010. "Dior, Christian ." Vintage Fashion Guild. July 12.

"Christian Dior S.A. History." In International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 49. St. James Press.

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) Contributors. 2011. "Virevolte suit, Christian Dior, Autumn/Winter 1955." FIDM Museum & Galleries. October 6.

The Henry Ford Museum, Editors. 2013. "The Fashions of Elizabeth Parke Firestone ." The Henry Ford. March 11.

The MET Editors. n.d. ""Virevolte"." The MET Museum. Accessed March 14, 2021.

The Vintage Traveler. 2019. "Currently Reading - Christian Dior: History and Modernity: 1947-1957." The Vintage Traveler. February 1.


Donor: Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection


URI 1991.15.10
URI 1991.15.11


Shelby Kanski
Susan J. Jerome, MS '06


Christian Dior
Made in Paris

number stamped onto woven label:
16681 in the white blouse
15294 in the blue blouse


BoutiqueChristian DiorParisMade in Parisnumber stamped onto woven label:16681 in the white blouse15294 in the blue blouse, “Two Woman's Blouses by Christian Dior
Virevolte Collection,” Historic Textile and Costume Collection, accessed March 27, 2023,

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