Current versions of the Bar jacket, autumn/winter 2014
When it comes to jackets most women will attest to the timeless of Chanel, however the style that has popped onto radars after a long absence is Christian Dior’s elegant yet feminine Bar jacket.
Not many women outside of fashion’s inner circles know much about this covetable item, despite the fact that it has been reinterpreted at the hands of Dior’s many designers since Monsieur Dior’s death in 1957. Now it has come back into the spotlight courtesy of creative director Raf Simons who is intent on merging his own legacy with the house’s most iconic creation.
The debut of the Bar jacket
The Bar Jacket was unveiled on the morning of February 12, 1947 as part of Christian Dior’s first ever Haute Couture collection. The ivory shantung piece came with a shawl collar to highlight the sensual curves of the neck and a built-in corset to sculpt the waist. It may sound simple but at the time it was considered revolutionary in that it brought a much needed femininity back to fashion. It also cemented Dior’s legacy as the ultimate creator and innovator, while re-establishing Paris as the epicentre of the industry.
Over the years the Bar jacket was reinterpreted by designers like John Galliano although it was only when Raf Simons joined that it transitioned from an iconic piece of clothing to a symbol of the brand’s future.
The original Bar jacket (left) and a version by John Galliano (right)
Every season since, Simons has explored the jacket’s architecture and distinct silhouette, while bringing its legacy to a modern audience. While it debuted in his couture collection, he later brought the versatile shape into the realm of ready-to-wear, using semi-couture techniques and experimenting with novel silhouettes that balance masculinity and femininity, and old with new. Each and every permutation has its own contemporary spin, whether it’s through a new cut, shape, texture or fabric. It has appeared as a strapless tuxedo; in bold shimmering jacquard; paired with skinny men’s trousers; bisected and sliced to reveal the skin underneath; classic in the front with a bustle of printed floral panels at the back; and as an urban Le Smoking, to name a few.
This season is no exception with countless of styles women will want to own from moulded double breasted bar jackets with corset-like lacing up the waist to tailored versions cut from masculine fabrics like flannel.
Needless to say the Bar Jacket embodies as much of the brand’s past as its future, making it a classic for all seasons.