What are some of your mem­o­ries of your time modelling Dior?

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FASHION -

I liked all my time as a man­nequin at Dior! It was all good – show­ing the col­lec­tions as well as pos­ing for pho­tos. I did not en­joy liv­ing in Paris, but I loved work­ing there.

What did the job in­volve?

Firstly, for four to six weeks, twice a year, be­ing avail­able for fit­tings all day long. Then for the first two weeks, the new col­lec­tion was shown twice a day to the press and com­mer­cial buy­ers. There­after there was one show­ing in the af­ter­noon, five days a week, for about 90 min­utes. Some­times Dior was asked for the col­lec­tion to be shown on so­cial or char­ity events.

How did you get the role?

I walked into the bou­tique one Au­gust, look­ing for a job – in­stead I was given an out­fit to put on, taken to be shown to Mr Dior, who said “fine”. I started work the next day.

What was he like?

Mr Dior was not tall, a bit portly, spoke very softly and kindly, was very diplo­matic, but knew ex­actly what he wanted and was obeyed. He cared very much for all of us man­nequins, for us to be con­tent and well. You flew to Aus­tralia in 1957 shortly af­ter Dior’s death. Tell us about your ex­pe­ri­ence… Fly­ing to Aus­tralia in 1957 was a very long jour­ney, we landed four times, I think. It was ex­cit­ing to go so far away. Did see­ing par­tic­u­lar pieces in the NGV ex­hi­bi­tion bring back mem­o­ries for you? It was lovely to see one of my gar­ments called “Zer­line”, from au­tumn/win­ter 1957 – it was a re­cent gift of Mrs [Krystyna] Camp­bell-Pretty. It is a cus­tomer’s dress, not the one made on me. Do you still own any Dior from the time you worked there? I gave all my Dior out­fits to the Brook­lyn Mu­seum in New York, where I lived. They are now in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum in New York. What do you think it is about Dior the brand that has en­sured it has en­dured for 70 years? Apart from the bril­liance of Mr Dior’s con­cept and his flair for fash­ion trends, hav­ing ac­cess to plenty of money meant he could cre­ate out­fits that other houses per­haps could not af­ford to.

Svet­lana Lloyd re­turned to Aus­tralia for the open­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

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