Early in 1947, Christian Dior launched his fashion house's first collection. The war had come to an end and with it the image of the 'soldier girl with a boxer's build'. In her place came Dior's 'woman-flower', with prominent bust, cinched waist, flat stomach, rounded hips and very full skirt. Immediately dubbed the 'New Look" by Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Carmel Snow, the "hourglass" figure and its extravagant demand for fabric created a furore – but also met with the instant, dazzling success that made it the emblem of the decade.
The 1950s were a decisive period for French haute couture, which had suffered badly in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the war and was now reborn and made eternal. The list of names says it all: Jacques Heim, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath making up the old guard; followed by newcomers Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Griffe, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin. Paradoxically the dominance of French fashion hinged not only on the prestige of names that spelled luxury, elegance and originality, but also on the profession's willingness to make the revolutionary move into ready-to-wear. In 1954 the 'Couturiers Associés' – Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Paquin, Carven, Jean Dessès – founded the first haute couture ready-to-wear licensing company .