Thursday, October 23, 2014


When you hear the name Christian Dior you think of French couture.  Dior was synonymous with luxury and beauty.  Any woman who was any anyone wanted Dior's clothes.  Christian Dior was born on January 21st, 1905 in Normandy, France.  Although he was raised in a wealthy family, his fashion career had a modest beginning.  He had to make his own way in the world.  He did this by selling fashion illustrations, and this gave him an entree into the house of Lucien Lelong, and that's where he learned how to design clothes.

In 1946, Dior opened his own design house and revolutionized fashion with his first collection.  During the war years, because of fabric rationing, clothing became very subtle and almost boring, and when Dior introduced this new look in post world war II it really was about opulence.  The Christian Dior new look was the complete opposite of what had been fashionable for the five previous years.  Dior brought the shoulder in and he sloped it, and he nipped in the waist, and he had incredibly full skirts that dropped down to the ankle. 

During the 1950's, Christian Dior was indisputably the most famous fashion designer in the world.  Some of Dior's famous clients included Eva Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayward, and the Duchess of Windsor.  He was famous for dressing Grace Kelly, and making these women so glamorous by just accentuating their femininity.

A brilliant business man as well as designer, Dior created a fashion empire.  Dior took the haute couture and expanded it into what we have today, luxury ready-to-wear.  He made dozens of licensing agreements, many of them still in effect today.  And he knew how to tap into the lucrative American market. 

Christian Dior died of a heart attack on October 23, 1957.  His assistant, Yves St-Laurent took leadership of the company and the house of Dior lived on.  Dior had such a profound impact on fashion that we tend to forget how short his career really was.  In just a decade he managed to create a legend and a legacy that is still with us today.  

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