‘The New Look’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Is Catherine Dior Alive?


The New Look sheds light on the couture scene in Paris during the Second World War and how Dior became fashion’s biggest name. For the most part, Dior spent his time as a designer under Lelong’s wing, and in episode 5, we learn why he chose to separate himself from Lelong and have a fashion house of his own. Chanel became the popular queen of fashion for her free silhouettes and her simple garments, which oozed style and comfort. On the other hand, we know Dior as the master of classic silhouettes. Dior dethroned Chanel while becoming the master of classic and fancy silhouettes. While Chanel’s garments were for the working woman, Dior’s reminded them that they could be throwing the biggest soirees and become the talk of the town. Cinched waists and massive skirts are all it took to make Dior a household name for haute couture. Well, not really; of course, he had the most fascinating designs, but it’s the thought that makes a difference, and episode 5 is just the beginning.

Spoiler Alert

Why did Dior not sign with Lelong? 

The New Look Episode 5 begins with Edith Piaf serenading us with songs of condolence. Dior is adamant that his sister isn’t dead because of what the psychic told him; however, throughout the episode, we see his belief wavering as everyone around him continues to tell him that she’s long gone and it’s too late. In terms of work, Lelong wants Dior to sign a contract with him; however, Dior isn’t willing to do so because he wants the freedom to help his sister whenever she returns, which she will. At the same time, Georges Vigouroux is on the hunt for someone new to take over Philippe and Gaston, a company owned by Marcel Boussac, aka King of Cotton. Dior is also tasked with replacing Balmain for Lelong; however, Vigouroux wants to invite Dior himself to take over for him. To be fair, it’s a shared sentiment amongst Dior’s friends, Balmain included, that Dior should stop working for the “old man” and allowing him to steal his work. In the meantime, Chanel’s trying to settle down in Switzerland and struggling with her nephew. She’s also struggling with her assets, considering she’s moved countries and the French still see her as a traitor. In the meantime, the Werthimers are producing Chanel No. 5s despite Chanel herself not being able to do so. She finds a shop with 60 bottles of them in Switzerland and buys them all to have the contents checked (yikes). 

At the house of Lelong, Pierre Cardin, the Italian tailor, is trying to fill up the other Pierre’s position. His eccentric nature brings a laugh to Dior after years of seriousness, thanks to the war and his sister’s absence from his life.

Does Catherine return on the train? 

While he’s having a mini-meeting with his friends, Dior gets a call from his father, who tells him that Catherine’s been found and will be returning via train. Dior makes it out to meet his father, who is grateful that Dior had always believed Catherine would return. The families of the victims carry white lilacs to the meeting point in eager anticipation of their loved ones’ return, Dior included, dressed in an impeccable suit to welcome his beloved sister. There is, of course, a beautiful sense of solidarity as they wait; however, the shocking revelation is too much for them to bear. Not only were a lot of the survivors lost on the way there, but those who are still alive look like a pile of bones that even family members may not be able to recognize. While Catherine’s name is on the list of people that are meant to be on the train, Dior never finds her, dead or alive. 

What Happens to Chanel No. 5? 

On the other hand, Chanel’s nephew needs to be sent to Paris immediately to be treated. No doctor is willing to come see him in Switzerland. Chanel is devastated to see her only family leave; however, she has no choice because Paris doesn’t welcome her anymore. Chanel hasn’t paid her driver for the last two months, and his patience has run dry. The man has to pay off his debts and look after his family. Seeing as Chanel can afford a mini fortune (60 bottles would make a massive hole in the bank), he reminds her that she should be paying him too. At this time, Chanel is flustered by her nephew and his daughter leaving, so she’s dismissive of him, but she also notices that the girl’s left her favorite toy behind. The driver is meant to take the perfume bottles to a freight train so they can reach Chanel’s perfumer. However, now Chanel wants to take the teddy to Gabriella, so she gets in the car. 

Unfortunately, since the driver was tired of asking Chanel for his payment, he made a plan to have the mini fortune stolen. Chanel’s left in the middle of nowhere, car gone, perfumes gone, and nephew gone. She hitches a ride back home, where a soiree awaits her, and shocks everyone with her disheveled look, her lawyer included. I suppose we can imagine it’s a lesson learned. 

Does Catherine return? 

An upset Dior walks up to Delahaye’s house, dejected. He tells her that his sister is never coming back; he doesn’t know where else to expel his anger. Delahaye gives him a necklace and tells him that as long as he has it, Catherine will return to him. She also tells him that she sees flowers or some sort of garden for when Catherine returns. Considering Dior has lost his only purpose in life, looking after his sister, he decides to reach out to Boussac and leave Lelong, but it’s not for what we think. He’s got bigger plans. Dior brings to Boussac a fresh idea and asks to give him his own fashion house (I did kind of squeal at that moment). Dior wants to remind the French what it’s like to be alive; it’s his “new look.” While Chanel used to be the queen of fashion before the war, now Dior is the new king. Boussac is impressed by Dior’s ideas; they’re new and challenging and also never heard of before. And, of course, there’s no denying that his designs are pure art; who could say no to him? A little risk is all it takes for the textile magnate. Dior’s idea stems from the sadness within him; it’s his idea to return color to humanity. On his way home, Dior looks at the necklace Delahaye gave him and throws it into a lake, his supposed final goodbye, a step into the future. 

At the end of The New Look episode 5, Dior returns home to Jacques to tell him his “interesting” news (as he calls it), but Jacques comes out all shaken up. He tells Dior that Catherine has just returned, and he tried to reach him, but he couldn’t. Dior opens the door to her room, and Catherine is on the bed, frail and on the verge of death. The first thing Dior noticed in Boussac’s office were flowers. I suppose it’s the sign Delahaye gave him, or a simple coincidence. What will the future hold for Dior? How does he go from designer to haute couture royalty? Let’s find out in the next episode of The New Look.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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