Like Impressionism, the revival of the Second Empire can be a bottleneck causing banality and sentiment in its retro forms. Dior imparted incomparable luxury to the finish, suggesting that he was able to surpass what could easily be a stale icon by sheer extravagance. A detail of lace at the scalloped strapless neckline reveals Dior's means of structure. Tiny curlicues of wire support the lace in the same way that the unseen bones support the bodice. In the small and the large form, Dior substantiated structure, even when the effect seems lacy and light.
Dior set exacting tasks for his embroiderer, Rebé. The embroidery is set in a nuanced spacing of elements with the densest application at the waist, thinning as it falls away to the hem. This seemingly organic application, simulating a diminishment in nature, is further enhanced by Rebé's repertoire of embroidery stitches to create a dimensionality of the surface. The effect is optically then like a meadow's variegation.
The Rebé embroidery, of exceptional richness, allows the soft platelets of tiered fabrics to function as if they were overlapping feathers of the peacock's tail. Of all Dior's works in the 1940s, the "Venus" and "Junon" ball gowns most fully represent his reliance on opulence to reestablish traditional values. Even in the inevitable comparison to 19th-century dress, it would be hard to think of a garment equal in luxuriance.
Rebé embroidery, more than that of any other embroidery house, evinced a fine 18th-century sensibility compatible with Dior's profound longing for the past. Only four years after World War II, the artisanal trades had fully recovered, rendering to the couture materials and applications as rich as before. As Dior restored a grand silhouette, he also reinstated artisanal luxury. Even the most subtle molded paillettes and graduated sequins were available and were used by Dior.