That’s not gonna be a post as the one you are used to read on this blog!
Today I’d like to make a tribute to one on the best designer in the entire history of fashion: Christian Dior.
Now, take your time, lock the door, turn your phone off and get ready to plunge in Dior’s enchanted world.
Christian Dior was born in the seaside town of Granville on the coast of Normandy in 1905.
He was the son of a wealthy fertiliser manufacturer and was one of five children. Aged five, he moved with his family to Paris.
Dior was artistically inclined and began to sell his sketches on the street to make pocket money.
Upon leaving school, Dior took over a small art gallery which his father bought for him, where he and a friend sold work by artists including Pablo Picasso.
In 1929 because of the Great Depression, the death of both his mother and his brother, and the collapse of his father’s business, Dior was forced to close his art gallery. He then went to work with fashion designer Robert Piguet until he was called up for military service in 1940.
At the end of his service in 1942, he began working for couturier Lucien Long, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers.
At the same time, Dior’s younger sister Catherine joined the French Resistance, resulting in her capture by the Gestapo and subsequent imprisonment at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived and was liberated in 1945. In 1947, Dior named his debut fragrance Miss Dior as a tribute to her.
He founded the house of Christian Dior on December 16, 1946 at 30 Avenue Montaigne Paris, backed by Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate. Officially, the house of Dior considers 1947 to be the year of conception as that is when Dior showed his first collection.
On February 12, 1947, Dior showed his debut collection, presenting the 90 different looks. Named “Corolle” and “Huit”, the lines were quickly christened the “New Look”, a phrase coined by US Harper’s Bazaar magazine editor Carmel Snow. The look consisted of a calf-length, full skirt, a cinched waist and fuller bust than had been seen since the turn of the century. A rebuttal to post-war fabric restrictions – the average dress used 20 yards of fabric – the look received some criticism upon release. The opulence of his designs contrasted with the grim post-war reality of Europe, and helped re-establish Paris as the joyful fashion capital it had once been.
He was known to be very superstitious, a quality which increased with age. Each collection included a coat named after his place of birth, Granville; in each show at least one model wore a bunch of his favourite flower, lily of the valley; and he never began a couture show without having consulted his tarot card reader.
In 1955, the 19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s design assistant. Christian Dior later met with Yves Saint Laurent’s mother, Lucienne Mathieu-Saint Laurent, in 1957 to tell her that he had chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him at Dior. She said at the time she had been confused by the remark, as Dior was only 52 at the time.
Shortly after his meeting with Saint Laurent’s mother, Christian Dior suffered a fatal heart attack on October 24, 1957, leaving the house in disarray. Some 2,500 people attended his funeral, including all of his staff and famous clients led by the Duchess of Windsor. In an attempt to stabilise the label, Jacques Rouët appointed the then-21-year-old Yves Saint-Laurent as artistic director.
The Maison Dior, after Christian’s death, had several talented art directors and stylistic directors, as Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano and now Raf Simons.
However we think that, a genius as Christian Dior had been, will be eternally irreplaceable.
Source: Vogue Christian Dior’s Biography