Working for Christian Dior: The Insights of a 1950s Fashion Model

Thursday 10 October | 6pm–8pm

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Talk: £15 | £12 Students

Working for Christian Dior, published by Zuleika Books, is a contemporary personal reflection by Jean Dawnay on her season working as a salon model for Dior’s spring/summer collection of 1950. In this Thursday evening talk join Jean Dawnay’s daughter Katya Galitzine for a fascinating account of the intricacies of daily life working at Dior.

Jean Dawnay’s status as one of the first household names in modelling was cemented in 1950 when she became the first Englishwoman to work for Christian Dior as a mannequin in his Paris salon.

Re-christened ‘Caroline’ by the famed designer, she became the designer’s muse, who embodied a quintessential sense of Englishness. She was a model following Dior’s acclaimed ‘New Look’; a style of dress that revolutionised fashion in the aftermath of the lingering austerity of post war Europe, and which made him the foremost designer of the era.

The designs and legacy of Christian Dior have fascinated both critics and the general public for decades. Yet, other than Dior’s own autobiography, Jean Dawnay’s insights are the only surviving first-hand account of the intricacies of daily life working at the fashion house. This unique account invites you to delve under the couture veneer and to glimpse both the man beneath and the extraordinary women who worked alongside him in this golden age of fashion.

Jean Dawnay was born in Brighton in 1925. Prior to becoming a model she worked in intelligence during the Second World War. She later was known not only for her looks but also for her writing and particularly for her autobiographical account of her modelling career, Model Girl, published in 1956. She later married a White Russian emigré and devoted herself to philanthropy in London and Russia. She died in 2016.

Working for Christian Dior
, £6.99, published by Zuleika Books will be available to purchase in the Museum shop.

Book Now
Talk: £15 | £12 Students

All tickets include a complimentary drink and exhibition entry
Numbers are limited for this event, please book early to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions about this event please complete our enquiry form.

The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the current exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a book signing in the foyer. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.

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