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Carrie Bradshaw’s Newspaper Dress – From Galliano’s Scandal to Icon

Carrie Bradshaw’s Newspaper Dress – From Galliano’s Scandal to Icon

The SATC Newspaper Dress From Gallianos Scandal to Icon Title

On 11 June 2024, the Newspaper Print Dress designed by John Galliano for Dior in 2000 sold for EUR 72,000 Euros. Yet another record for a dress which has been popular at auctions. Today, this dress and its print are considered part of pop culture history – not only because a version of this dress was famously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in SATC but also because it kicked off a “newspaper fashion trend” in the early 2000s. It is interesting and ironic that we call it “iconic” today, because when the dress was presented on the runway in 2000, it created a lot of controversy. It was a scandal, because Galliano’s source of inspiration was the homeless people he observed on the streets of Paris; it glorified the “Homeless Chic”.[1] Let’s take a closer look at this iconic yet scandalous dress.

You can also watch my video here:

Recent Auction Results

For quite some time, this dress has been achieving record prices. At the most recent auction in June 2024, a long version of the Newspaper Dress sold at Kerry Taylor Auctions achieved EUR 72,000 (roughly USD 77,000) – another record price. Already in November 2022, it was sold via Bonham’s for EUR 15,300 (about USD 16,300) – the expected price before the auction had been between EUR 800 – EUR 1,000, hence, it was sold for more than 15 times the expected price. In March 2024, another “Carrie Bradshaw Dress” was sold, again at Bonham’s. This time it achieved USD 23,040, despite being labeled only in “good” condition. According to the auction website, the production tag and label had been removed, there was a hole three inches above the front hemline, there was discolouration throughout from age and fraying on the straps. Furthermore, there were several runs in the fabric. Despite these issues, the dress achieved a record result.[2]

At the time of publishing this article, another dress was available at 1stDIBS, a vintage online platform. It is the dress which was actually worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2 – the newspaper dress appeared on Sex and the City twice (further details below). It was borrowed and returned to Vintage Luxury N.Y.. At the time of publishing, it was priced at over EUR 230,000 and was in 99 carts.[3] Let’s see how long it will stay in the carts only.

The History of the Newspaper Print, Galliano’s Newspaper Dress for Dior and a Questionable Trend Called “Homeless Chic”

John Galliano was the creative director of Dior from 1997 until 2011; before that, he had worked for Givenchy. Galliano has created many iconic designs and is famous for blurring lines between fashion and art, his unconventional silhouettes, for challenging our ideals of beauty and his theatrical runway shows. In 2011, he was dismissed from Dior and his namesake label after a video was released where he made antisemitic comments. He struggled to come back into fashion and since 2014, Galliano has been the creative director of Maison Margiela – you may have seen his runway show this spring which made headlines and also multiple Margiela outfits at this year’s Met Gala.

Look 44 of the Dior Fall 2000 ready-to-wear collection is the model which achieved a record price in the most recent auction in June 2024.

The Newspaper Dress – or rather Dresses, there were two, a long and a short version, were part of his Fall 2000 ready-to-wear “Fly Girl” collection for Dior. The most recent record-price achieving dress was Look 44 from the collection; the Sex and the City design was Look 34, a shorter version.[4]

Carrie Bradshaw’s Newspaper Dress was Look 34 from the Dior Fall 2000 ready-to-wear collection.

However, this was not the first time that Galliano used this print. A newspaper pattern already appeared in his Spring/Summer 2000 couture collection. It was the very first look, very wide cut trousers. This collection was actually the reason for the scandal. It was not because of the newspaper print. The collection not only deconstructed haute couture, but also had Galliano taken inspiration from homeless people he saw on the streets of Paris. It also had a controversial name: “Hobo Collection” or “Hobo Couture”. Another source of inspiration had been the so-called “Tramp Balls” – parties of the Parisian elites in the 1920s and 1930s where they dressed up as homeless people for fun. That poverty was the source of inspiration was – and probably still is – scandalous.[5]

Look 1 of the scandalous Dior Spring 2000 couture collection featured wide-cut trousers with a newspaper print.

Galliano was not the only one in fashion “glorifying” outfits of the homeless. In 2009, Amy Odell reported in The Cut about the fashion blog “The Sartorialist” by Scott Schumann.[6] Reading the following direct quote from the article “Homeless Man Enjoys Fashion Moment on the Sartorialist” published at www.thecut.com on 31 August 2009 feels strange 15 years of the article was published.

“Scott Schumann, the Sartorialist, usually doesn’t shoot homeless people, because he most often doesn’t ‘find it romantic or appealing.’ However, one homeless man on the Bowery, wearing blue boots, recently changed his mind. At first, Schumann noticed the shoes, but late, upon closer inspection, he noticed his coordinating blue socks, gloves, and glasses. Schumann writes, ‘This shot isn’t about fashion — but about someone who, while down on his luck, hasn’t lost his need to communicate and express himself through style. Looking at him dressed like this makes me feel that in some way he hasn’t given in or given up.’ After the homeless-chic cover of September’s Italian Vogue and Elle’s awarding an internship to a homeless girl, it seems homelessness is having a fashion moment. But the Olsens figured that out years ago.”[7]

The Cut, 31 August 2009

The original post on The Sartorialist has disappeared and the Italian Vogue issue which Odell referred to was shot by Steven Meisel. It featured male and female models looking disheveled, giving the impression of being homeless. Some publications linked the “Homeless Chic”-trend to the economic downturn in the aftermath of 2008 and that the grunge look became more fashionable as a consequence.[8] 

The Vogue Italia cover by Steven Meisel for September 2009.

In 2000, when Galliano sent the couture designs on the runway, the outcry was enormous. Despite the scandal, Galliano always the enfant terrible of fashion still launched the following Fall 2000 ready-to-wear collection using the same source of inspiration. It included fur – sable and chinchilla coats and also a mink trench. They were combined with boudoir silk dresses and he also printed fur patterns on other fabrics – for example faded animal sports printed on chiffon. This use of fur is a nod to the balls of the elites mentioned previously.[9] 

The famous newspaper pattern featured “The Christian Dior Daily” – Galliano had created this newspaper for his designs and it was printed on chiffon, leather and the reverse side of the furs. It was the pattern for the famous dresses but it was also used for jackets and coats, slips worn underneath the transparent dresses and as tops. For this print, Galliano was inspired by none other than Elsa Schiaparelli who incorporated her own press clippings into a newspaper print in 1935. According to her autobiography “Shocking Life”, Schiaparelli had been inspired for this print during a trip to Denmark, where she had seen the wives of fishermen were hats made from newspaper. But Schiaparelli was also not the first who used a newspaper print.[10]

Elsa Schiaparelli included a print of newspaper clippings about herself into her designs.

Already in 1866, Matilda Butters, the wife of an Australian politician, wore a newspaper print dress. She attended a fancy dress ball in a dress made from 31 pieces of custom-printed silk satin featuring plates from 13 different newspapers of Melbourne. She obviously cherished this dress, because, she attended two more balls wearing it. Long after that, the newspaper print was also seen on one of the first modern bikinis by Louis Réard in the 1940s.[11]

One of the first documented garments with a newspaper print is “The Press” fancy dress gown worn by Matilda Butters in Melbourne in 1866.

Galliano is famous for not shying away from scandal and he was heavily criticized for the collections. Nevertheless, the pattern soon became iconic and linked to Galliano, who used it for further collection at Dior but also his own label.

The Newspaper Print Dress and Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie Bradshaw wearing the Newspaper Dress in Episode 17 of Season 3.

The dress achieved cult status. In Episode 17 of Season 3 of Sex and the City which is called “What Goes Around Comes Around” and which aired in June 2000, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw wore Look 34, the short Newspaper Print slip dress with gold link straps. Patricia Field, the costume designer of the show, paired the dress with Carrie’s namesake necklace in gold, a Fendi baguette bag and Manolo Blahnik heels. If you need a refresher: Carrie wears this outfit at the end of the episode when she ambushes Mr Big and his then-wife Natasha at a restaurant and Natasha says “Now not only have you ruined my marriage, you’ve ruined my lunch.” Carrie leaves the restaurant and walks the streets of Manhattan in Galliano’s design. Field was known for putting a lot of thought in the show’s outfits. And the newspaper dress was not a coincidence: Carrie did something scandalous – in a scandalous dress. It shows the dialogue between the character’s actions and the outfit. The dress became so iconic for Sex and the City, that it had a reappearance in the movie Sex and the City 2. It is not the exact same dress of the series, for Sex and the City 2, another version was borrowed from Vintage Luxury N.Y. – the same model (Look 34) but with different print placement. If you have a few dollars to spare, this is the dress which is currently up for sale.[12] 

The Newspaper Dress made a reappearance in Sex and the City 2 and this dress can currently be bought online for over EUR 230,000.


Footnotes

[1] Bazaar Arabia 2024.

[2] Bonham’s 2024, Dazed 2024, Kerry Taylor Auctions 2024.

[3] 1stDIBS 2024.

[4] 29secrets.com 2024, Bazaar Arabia 2024, Bilitum YouTube Account 2024, FIDM Museum 2024, Harper’s Bazaar UK 2024, State Library Victoria 2024, Vogue Australia 2024, Vogue Runway 2024.

[5] ibid.

[6] The Cut 2024.

[7] ibid.

[8] Trendhunter 2024.

[9] 29secrets.com 2024, Bazaar Arabia 2024, Bilitum YouTube Account 2024, FIDM Museum 2024, Harper’s Bazaar UK 2024, State Library Victoria 2024, Vogue Australia 2024, Vogue Runway 2024.

[10-12] ibid.


Sources

1stDIBS, Worn in Sex and The City 2, Iconic John Galliano Christian Dior Newsprint Dress, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

29secrets.com, THE STORY OF: The Christian Dior Newspaper Dress Carrie Wore In SATC, published in 2023, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Bazaar Arabia, How Much Did Carrie Bradshaw’s Dior Newspaper Dress Actually Sell For?, published on 12 June 2024, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Bilitum YouTube Account, Christian Dior Haute Couture 2000 Spring Summer (Full), published in 2014, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Bonham’s, Collecting Classic Luxury, Christian Dior Newspaper Print Dress, Fall 2000, Look 34, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Dazed, And just like that, Galliano’s newspaper dress sold for over €15,000, published on 30 November 2022, last accessed on 16 June 2024. 

FIDM Museum, Newsprint fashion, published in 2011, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Harper’s Bazaar UK, Here’s a brief history of newspaper print, as it storms back into style, published on 15 August 2019, last accessed on 16 June 2024. 

Kerry Taylor Auctions, Passion for Fashion & The Mr Steven Philip Collection (Part 2), A Christian Dior by John Galliano newspaper print dress, ‘Fly Girl’ collection, Autumn-Winter 2000-01, published on 11 June 2024, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

State Library Victoria, 150 years of The Press dress, published on 20 September 2016, last accessed on 16 June 2024. 

The Cut, Homeless Man Enjoys Fashion Moment on the Sartorialist, published on 31 August 2009, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Trendhunter, Homeless Haute Couture, published on 3 September 2009, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

See Also
Who Was Miss Dior The Brave Life of Catherine Dior Title

Vogue Australia, The interesting history behind Carrie’s infamous newspaper dress, published on 24 February 2017, last accessed on 16 June 2024.

Vogue Runway, Christian Dior Fall 2000 Ready-to-Wear, published on 28 February 2000, last accessed on 16 June 2024.


Disclaimer

This article is based on the personal, views, experiences and research of the author, no fees were received by the organisations and people mentioned above. All information as of the date of publishing/updating.


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