The true story behind Apple TV+'s The New Look

A still from the series (image via Apple TV+)
A still from the series (image via Apple TV+)

The New Look is an intriguing biographical drama series that looks into the famous rivalry between the now world-renowned designers, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior.

Created by Todd A. Kessler (known for The Sopranos), the Apple TV+ series goes into the history of fashion and how World War II impacted designers Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. The official synopsis of The New Look reads:

"As Dior rises to prominence with his ground breaking, iconic imprint of beauty and influence, Chanel’s reign as the world’s most famous fashion designer is put into jeopardy. The interwoven saga follows the surprising stories of Dior’s contemporaries and rivals from Chanel to Pierre Balmain, Cristóbal Balenciaga and more; and provides a stunning view into the atelier, designs and clothing created by Christian Dior through collaboration with the House of Dior."

Emmy Award winner Ben Mendelsohn (in the role of Christian Dior) and Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche (in the role of Coco Chanel) star in this biographical drama series that will debut its first three episodes on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, on Apple TV+.

The New Look from Apple TV+ explores the real-life rivalry between Coco Chanel and Christian Dior in a post-WWII world

Christian Dior and Coco Chanel are names synonymous with fashion, in the contemporary world. Unknown to many, these mammoth fashion houses rose in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Coco Chanel was already an established fashion designer as she revolutionized the modern look for women in between the two World Wars. Her designs liberated women from corsets and introduced more practical attires including the iconic Chanel Suit and little black dresses.

However, in 1947 another French designer Christian Dior came into the spotlight. His design ideas staunchly opposed Coco Chanel's. The New Look on Apple TV+ delves into details about how the rivalry between the two powerhouse designers kickstarted.

When Christian Dior unveiled his first-ever couture collection in Paris in 1947, it represented bell-shaped flowers as skirt designs, padded hips, cinched waists, and multi-layered clothing. It was not practical at all and was a complete U-turn from the pragmatic march in women's tailoring brought upon by Coco Chanel over the years. Dior represented dreams and glamour, something which was lost during the years of war when even clothes had to be rationed due to a shortage of clothes.


The name of the series The New Look, is derived from a famous phrase by the erstwhile editor of Harper's Bazaar, Carmel Snow. As per her, Dior's debut in fashion returned Paris to the center of the fashion industry once again. She wrote:

“It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!”

However, Coco Chanel, who was at the forefront of creating pragmatic yet elegant clothing for women at the time was completely opposed to Dior's designs as she thought they were too impractical and took women's clothing back to a repressive era.

Chanel's creations remained appealing to ladies looking for subtle elegance and adaptability, while Dior's New Look enthralled audiences with its opulent bodies. The two designers' divergent outlooks on the direction of fashion—Chanel epitomized modernism and pragmatism, while Dior represented a return to heritage and romance—fueled their rivalry. Undoubtedly, the public and media at that time were captivated by their competition.

The New Look on Apple TV+ goes beyond the design aspect of their rivalry, looking into alleged Nazi ties of Chanel and how Dior's family was a prominent part of the French Resistance in the war.

The New Look will premiere on Apple TV+ on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. The exciting historical biography series also features other prominent designers like Yves Saint-Laurent, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Pierre Cardin.

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Edited by Abigail Kevichusa
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