Fashion in the early 1950s burst with color prints and extravagant fabrics. As fabric was in short supply during the earlier World War II years, designers worked to create designs incorporating extravagant fabric that draped elegantly over a woman's form. From day dresses to evening gowns, dresses from 1952 give present-day fashionistas a glimpse of femininity and glamour.
Extensive fabric pleats and folds began to die out of fashion in early 1952, as U.S. economics forced women and designers to construct outfits out of less material. Even so, the full-skirted dress was still present in fashion, albeit with a few less folds of fabric. Dresses designed with these skirts had crinolines or petticoats to fill out the body, with the hemline hanging several inches below the knee. A form-fitting bodice created the top portion of the dress. Bold colors, such as lime and orange, deep browns and reds, took precedent over bright patterns.
Dresses merged from bell-like skirts to form-fitting suits for day wear. Suits designed to fit closely around the bust and hips created a long and narrow look for women in 1952. Such fabrics as tweed, jersey and polyester sewn with darts to conform to the shape of a woman's outline were popular. A bold lemon-colored suit, complemented with a cream-colored blouse, black gloves and a light green hat, represents color choices of women's day dresses in the early '50s in the book "The 1950s and 1960s" by Anne Rooney.
Geometric necklines and crisp fabrics, such as taffeta and silk, helped create cocktail dresses of 1952. High-necked collars, narrow "V" shapes and sweetheart necklines demonstrated dramatic interest for the bust and bodice area of these dresses. Bell-shaped skirts with less crinoline fluff and pleated with a drop hem added to the sophistication of dinner wear. Sleeve length was commonly over the elbow, ending in the mid-forearm area.
Christian Dior explored luxuriant fabrics for formalwear in his spring and summer collection in 1952. Tulle, silk, fine wool and lace were the materials Dior used to create opulent dress designs. Form-fitting, floor-length gowns mixed with sweeping full-skirted designs for a woman's night out. Necklines were more exposed, from cowl designs to one-shouldered creations. A network of floral embroidery gave a distinctive edge to formalwear as well.