It’s Dior, darling!
The House of Dior, commonly referred to as Dior, is an iconic brand that has had some of the biggest names in fashion take the reigns over the years. Dior has forever changed the way women dress and every artistic director has brought their own unique spin to the brand.
In this blog, we’re diving deep into the world of Dior and uncovering everything you need to know about the sophisticated fashion house.
The legacy that is Dior all started with one very talented and artistic man – Christian Dior. Dior was born in the seaside town of Granville, France in the year 1905. At the age of five, his family made the move to Paris. Christian went on to attend the École des Science Politiques and his parents dreamed of him becoming a diplomat, but there were bigger and better things out there for Dior.
Dior had impressive artistic talents and sold his sketches for money at a young age. Once he finished school, he began running a small art gallery his father purchased for him. Unfortunately, Dior was forced to close the art gallery after the Great Depression, during which both his mother and brother died.
Dior was resilient and went on to work as a design assistant to Robert Piguet, a Parisian couturier, and later Lucien Lelong, a dress couturier. During his time with Lelong, he also worked alongside fellow fashion great Pierre Balmain.
Dior Makes Its Debut
Following the aftermath of World War II, Dior founded the House of Christian Dior on December 16, 1946, though the official year of conception is considered to be 1947 when his first collection was shown. Dior brought Haute Couture back to Paris and forever changed French fashion with his dresses called “The New Look”.
The New Look dresses featured a tiny, nipped-in waist and a calf-length full skirt. They created an hourglass shape and fuller bust, which made them privy to criticism upon release. Along with his other pieces, The New Look helped to put Paris back on the map as a fun fashion capital.
The House of Dior took off and quickly gained a reputation for being luxurious, using only the best materials. Dior became popular among the elite and worked with clients including Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. That’s no small feat!
A Major Setback
In 1957, Dior unexpectedly died at the age of 52 after having a heart attack. His death occurred just months after he became the first French couturier to appear on the cover of Time magazine. 2,500 people attended his funeral, including his successor Yves Saint Laurent.
Rising New Talent
Since Dior’s untimely passing, a total of six artistic directors have succeeded him, including Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Each director has taken the brand in a different direction – Saint Laurent made the clothing more youthful, Bohan took the brand in a more conservative direction, and Ferré produced more romantic and refined looks.
One particularly notable moment for the Dior brand was the creation of the famous Lady Dior handbag by Ferré. This small black leather grab bag with its elegant rattan pattern, round top handles, and gold charms was popularized by the one and only Princess Diana. France’s first lady, Bernadette Chirac, gifted the beautiful bag to Diana at the Cezanne Art Exhibition in Paris in 1995.
The bag quickly became one of Diana’s favourites and seeing as she was the most photographed woman in the world, many other women also began to desire the item. The Lady Dior handbag ultimately ended up selling over 200,000 units over the next two years, making it one of the most successful handbags to ever exist!
Today, Dior is an established and highly praised fashion house that continues to push boundaries and meet modern day women’s style needs. Popular designers have taken inspiration from Dior’s desire to make women feel their most beautiful in his elegant clothing and the Lady Dior handbag has solidified its icon status. What could have been a tragic ending for a beloved brand was instead transformed into a lovely legacy that has allowed talented fashion directors to thrive!
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