SPEAKING WITH SVETLANA LLOYD
What are some of your memories of your time modelling Dior?
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.