Dior – The Saviour of French Haute Couture?
Dior has been credited as re-establishing Paris as a fashion capital of the world. Not a bad accolade right?
The year was 1947, and a collection of 90 designs waltzed their way through 30 Avenue Montaigne and blew a breath of fresh air into the fashion world.
Carmel Snow, an advocate of his talent, praised the new designs:
"It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!".
'New Look' became the talk of the fashion world and catapulted Dior into an overnight success. By focusing on areas which accentuate various parts of a woman, he introduced a new dynamic to the art of seduction.
Who Was Christian Dior?
Christian Dior (1905-57) was the son of a wealthy businessman called Maurice.
His reluctance to follow his father led him to study politics to become a diplomat. Soon learning he did not like politics, he left without his degree and sold sketches on the streets of Paris.
In 1928, he opened his own gallery and it took 10 years before he finally got his break.
Christian’s Big Break
With fashion houses scarce at the time, it was Robert Piguet who gave Dior his first job - albeit as a pattern cutter.
Trivia - Did you know that Piguet also trained Givenchy? Read his fascinating story here: Luxury Fashion House Spotlight: Givenchy.
Dior's skills were shown to the world when he created the famous design 'Cafe Anglais' (a day dress with a short, full skirt).
A hit at the time, it won him an admirer in the form of Carmel Snow who worked for Harper's Bazaar.
After 5 years, he moved on to Lucien Lelong before WW2 broke out.
Christian Creates Dior
After the end of WW2, Dior was faced with a predicament. He was approached by a textile magnate called Marcel Boussac, the richest man in France.
He wanted Christian to design for Philippe et Gaston, a fashion house located in Paris. However, Dior declined the offer and launched his own brand instead.
Christian launched Dior in 1946. A year later, he launched his first collection known internationally as "New Look".
Trivia – One of his designers was no other than Yves Saint Laurent. Discover their story here: Luxury Fashion House Spotlight - Yves Saint Laurent.
When 'New Look' became the talk of fashion, it transformed the fortunes of both Dior and France. This change came at an ideal time because of the impact of the war. Resurrecting themselves through fashion among other industries, France and Dior were beginning to create a new identity.
Dior used this new fame to expand into new areas such as bags, fragrances etc. to become a powerhouse of fashion.
Now you know about Dior but do you know their most iconic designs?
Famous Designs by Dior
From inventing their own silhouette to creating that season's it-bag (a best seller), which designs caused writers to run out of ink and countless fans to flood the stores?
The Chouchou Bag/Lady Dior Bag
Originally called the Chouchou bag and launched in 1995, it garnered worldwide attention when Diana, The Princess of Wales was snapped carrying the bag. Dior recognised this and named the bag after her.
Today, it's known as the Lady Dior Bag which has since become an it-bag.
Fashion always needs a muse and Miss Dior has been illustrating just that.
Dior first launched a fragrance in 1947. It was named after his sister who joined the French Resistance during WW2.
Miss Dior has used Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley as their muses for this famous perfume.
Dior Saddle Bag
Another it-bag. It's shaped like a horse saddle with the C and D charms hanging down. It's received many variations since its inception and has been seen on the shoulders of numerous celebrities.
A silhouette is an outline or shape of an item of clothing. Dior invented three over 60 years ago and they are still used today!
- A-Line: garments are shaped like the letter A, so they flare out from a fitted waist or the shoulders down to the hem.
- H-Line: this shape is comprised of a high bust, low waist and straight sides. If you look closely, it resembles the letter H!
- Y-Line: a dress with elements of a tight-fitting at the legs and waist. It flares out from the top with wide shoulders and /or large collars.
Check out the Miss Dior commercial featuring Academy Award Winning Actress Natalie Portman.
In the 70 years that Dior has been in fashion, they have grown from the being a breath of fresh air into a modern, yet elegant fashion house.
Found at every awards show, some of their fans include the likes of Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Emma Clarke, Jean Campbell, Bella Hadid and more!
What is Dior going to do next? With Fashion Week over until February, we can’t wait to find out!
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