Wednesday, 12 February 1947. On this morning it's -6°C in Paris. It's the final day of the spring-summer season shows, and is also the coldest winter since 1870. Christian Dior arrives very early at Avenue Montaigne. The street is still calm, but things at number 30 are already a mix of anxiety and excitement. Carmen Colle has spent the night finishing displaying the accessories in the little ground-floor boutique. Upstairs, since dawn, the florists have been arranging sweet peas, roses, white lily-of-the-valley and long blue delphiniums by the thousands, to stunning effect. Liters of Miss Dior are being sprayed everywhere so that the guests can exclusively discover the notes of the first fragrance the couturier-perfumer is set to launch at the end of the year. At ten-o’clock an excitable crowd is gathering in front of the entrance. The hostesses welcome people three at a time. Within barely thirty minutes the pearl gray and white salons are jammed with people, so much so that the grand staircase is quickly adopted for extra seating. This overflowing little private mansion is witnessing the coming together of the international press with old friends. The Paris-based editor from American Vogue Bettina Ballard, the artists Jean Cocteau, Henri Sauguet, Christian Bérard, the wife of the British ambassador Lady Diana Cooper, Louise de Vilmorin, and so on – no one has declined the opportunity to attend. Suddenly the rustle of fabric causes the throng to fall silent. The show has started. One, two, three looks, recalling the forms of flowers, emerge to the rhythm of their poetic names. Cocotte, Cythère, Colibri, Caprice… The collection’s ninety outfits accentuate womanly curves. In a France still bearing the scars of the Second World War, Christian Dior played a card of splendor and abundance. A daring yardage of fabric was needed – more than twenty meters of navy faille – for the Chérie design to fan out its immense sunray-pleated long skirt. Its nymphlike bust and wasp waist traces out a new silhouette, a “new look”. This expression uttered by Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, will make its way all around the world, even with the French newspapers out on strike. The magic occurs through a rain of applause. Christian Dior idealizes the shapely female body of the woman and instantly renders the square shape inherited from the war obsolete. In harmony with the mood of the moment, advocating a return to the art of pleasure, and, quite simply, the happiness of living.