Christian Dior was French fashion designer that was born in 1905 in Granville. He was the founder of one of the most known maisons. His family was bourgeois and they hope he will become a diplomat someday, that’s why they sent him to study to École des Sciences Politiques in Paris, despite that he was interested in art. He opened a gallery of art but, because of the Great Depression, his family business was ruined so he had to close the gallery.
In 1937 Robert Piguet, a great Parisian designer from the moment, hired him and gave him the great chance to draw sketches for his collections, where in 1938 showed for the first time hounds tooth check. At the same time he was working for Pierre Balmain but, but he left them due to military service. In 1942 he left the army and started working for Lucien Lelong, a French designer, during the Second World War and designed for the wives of the Nazis Officers, as others maisons did, like Jeanne Lanvin or Nina Ricci.
Finally, Christian Dior founded his own fashion house on 8 December of 1946 and on 12 February of the next year in an atelier of Avenue Montaige he presented his first collection called Corolle as a reference to the petal’s whorl of the flowers; at the same time he launched a line of floral perfumes. Florence Müller, a fashion historian, said: “Christian Dior was considered as much as a designer a perfumer. He had the conviction that a dress was finished just if it was accompanied by the appropriate perfume”. His first collection was the one that gave name to the New Look, a term coined by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar.
The New Look embodied the glamour, the classical elegance and the femininity that were suppressed due to the tough fabrics and the predominance of the grey colour of military uniforms during the Second World War. It was characterized by wasp waist shapes and tight bodice jackets, flared and voluminous mid-length skirts with tulle linings, hats worn at an angle, chokers and stilettos. The perfect example of the New Look was the Bar Suit. All of his dresses and suits fitted the feminine figure, exaggerating it. American and British governments disapproved New Look because, according to them, it was a waste of fabric. That was because Christian Dior used a lot of it to create his amazing ball gowns and skirts. The New Look lasted until 1955, when he presented the “A-line”, were waists were undefined and the silhouette widened over the hips and legs, reminding a Capital “A”.
The economic recovery after the Second World War brought an era of consumerism that helped to develop creativity and glamour, bringing back luxury and excess that represented the needs of recovery and optimism of society.
Christian Dior died in 1957 in Italy and now the causes of his death still being a mystery. After his death, Yves Saint Laurent took charge of the maison with just only 21 years; he maintained the elegance of his mentor but removed weight of the garments. The sixties were a decade of change and revolution, which didn’t like to the wealthy people who followed the brand. That leaded to Saint Laurent to present his last collection for Dior in 1961 that was a tribute to the Rive Gauche students, the most bohemian and revolutionary Paris. This last collection introduced leather jackets and miniskirts. Saint Laurent was replaced by Marc Bohan that was much more conservative. He was taken over by Gianfranco Ferré, an Italian designer who leaved his own brand to lead the French maison.
In 1997, John Galliano was in charge of Dior. To him it can be attributed a change of style that stood out for the sumptuous ball gowns and mixture of cultures. The work of Galliano is also known because of Kate Moss, who walked up for him with only sixteen years old, and his Fall/Winter collection of 2011. He was fired due to anti-Semitic declarations in a bar.
The maison was in charge of Raf Simons, who came from Jil Sander, since 2012 until 2015. He doesn’t want to renew the contract because he wants to focus on other interests, like his own brand.
It has to be said that Dior forms part of LVMH (Luis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), a multinational luxury good conglomerate, which includes as well Céline, Fendi, Givenchy, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Ruinart or Dom Perignon.
The maison has been the one that dresses influential women as Eva Perón (who had a lot of affinity with Christian Dior, as he said on an interview in 1953), princess Diane of Wales or Ava Gardner. Nowadays some of the women that choose Dior to wear on the red carpets are Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger and Jennifer Lawrence.