Dress, cocktail-style, of black wool crepe. Scooped neckline with shawl collar. Bodice front has velvet inset, slightly gathered and decorated with a large black velvet bow. Three-quarter length batwing sleeves. Wide yoke encircles waistline, and has two button closures at center back. Pleating at waist; slight fullness in skirt. Two standing pockets at hip. Center back zip. Black silk faille lining. Falls below the knee.
Ballerina Maria Tallchief donated this dress, the Museum's only piece from Dior's historic first collection. Tallchief was prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet for eighteen years and later became the artistic director of Chicago's Lyric Opera Ballet. Tallchief and her then-husband, George Ballenchine, attended the New Look opening where Christian Dior himself escorted them to their seats. Maria Tallchief wore this dress -- named "Maxim" after Dior's favorite restaurant -- when she received the 1953 Woman of the Year award from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.