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The success of the Newspaper Dress

How Carrie Bradshaw's product placement became a piece of history

The success of the Newspaper Dress How Carrie Bradshaw's product placement became a piece of history

Last Monday the international auction house Bonhams saw the Newspaper Dress designed by John Galliano for Dior at the sum of 15,300 euros, during the Cornette de Saint Cyr digital auction, The Art of Luxury: Louis Vuitton & Christian Dior - John Galliano within which it represented the main lot. Although among collectors Galliano's creations for both Dior and his own brand are highly sought after and fetch high prices for their "beautiful lines, imagination and sense of color," this is something of a record, exceeding the original estimate by more than 15 times and confirming how much that garment has entered not only the collective imagination but also the history of contemporary fashion.  

The credit for popularizing the gazette print goes to John Galliano and the fall 2000 ready-to-wear collection he made for Dior, inspired by the homeless sleeping on newspapers on the streets of Paris, but also by the Vagabond Dances of the 1920s, where the rich dressed as the poor for fun. Criticized by many for appropriating poverty, the collection became one of her best-known thanks to a very famous TV personality. One of those designs, a light sheath dress with an asymmetrical cut, featuring a plunging neckline and two very thin straps embellished with a gold "C" and "D," ended up in episode number 17 of the third season, titled What Goes Around Comes Around of Sex and the City. Costume designer Patricia Field had it worn by Carrie Bradshaw for a rather "delicate" scene in which she actually ambushes Natasha trying to apologize to her for ruining her marriage to Big. The apology was unsuccessful, but those few minutes on screen were enough for the Dior dress to become one of the most iconic outfits ever sported by Carrie-so much so that the writer returned to wear it again 10 years after its first appearance, in the 2010 film Sex and The City 2.

Dior, Galliano, and Bradshaw made it unforgettable, but they were not the first to think of a newspaper-inspired print dress. One of the first to wear an old-fashioned version was Matilda Butters, the wife of an Australian politician, in 1886, but it can be said that it was Elsa Schiaparelli and Louis Réard who turned the spotlight on this type of dress. The inventor of the bikini covered in that type of print, ironically alluding to all the newspaper headlines she would have conquered with that innovative garment; while in 1935 Schiaparelli made creations with newspaper clippings written about her, transformed into blouses and accessories. The idea probably came to her during a trip to Denmark on vacation, after seeing fishwives in Copenhagen wearing hats made of newspaper. Since then the trend has been revived cyclically, gradually reinterpreted by designers as diverse as MoschinoBalenciagaCalvin KleinVersaceHelmut LangDiane Von Furstenberg and many others. The most beloved declination of the Newspaper dress remains, however, that of Dior by Galliano. Why? The factors are many, but the real difference was made by Carrie Bradshaw. Whether you love her style or not, when it comes to fashion hers remains one of the most influential characters (but also the entire SATC TV series) in film and TV to this day, and everything she wears leaves its mark. And she left it even more in the early 2000s when she first aired the Dior dress, thus entering the radar of every fashion addict in the world. Most have had to make do with the many fast-fashion imitations, but the lucky ones like Kim Kardashian have been able to imitate Carrie and incorporate an item from that iconic collection into their wardrobe.