When Christian Dior introduced his New Look in 1947, it was not the product of decades in the trenches as a fashion designer. Rather, Dior’s famous postwar collection marked his professional debut.

Which is not to say that the collection was purely a case of beginner’s luck. Dior had been in the Paris fashion world for years, including productive stints as assistants to Robert Piguet and Lucien Lélong. By the time he opened his own couture house in 1946, he was already 41 years old.

Dior called his first collection Corolle, which was French for flower petals. Indeed, compared to the boxy, utilitarian, World War II fashions that had dominated the 1940s, Dior’s collection was a bouquet of bounty, with yards upon yards of fabric lavished on just one dress. The fashion press was smitten, with “Harper’s Bazaar” being the first to call it the New Look.

In fact, there was much that was not new at all about Dior’s breakthrough. Some have detected 1860s French influences, while Dior himself said that the collection reminded him of the clothes his mother had worn to the races when he was a young boy.

Though the fashion press fawned over Dior (“Vogue” covered him obsessively until his death in 1957), many Europeans were shocked by the excessive use of material at a time when fabric was still being rationed. Others resented the ornamentation of women—fellow Parisian Coco Chanel dismissed Dior’s look as the equivalent of dressing women up like armchairs.

Perhaps in deference to his critics, Dior’s subsequent collections were more pared down. For example, his A-line dresses, whose silhouette resembled the letter A, were signatures of the casual, unfussy 1950s.

After Dior’s death, Yves Saint Laurent, who had been a design assistant with the firm, was named chief designer, even though he was only 21. Within two years Marc Bohan had replaced Saint Laurent, and he stayed at that post for 28 years, longer than Dior himself had been at the helm of his own company...

Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre followed Bohan, but the next designer to make his mark on Dior was a Brit, John Galliano, who arrived at Dior in 1996. Many critics believe Galliano has best understood Dior’s unique aesthetic.

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Haute Couture and the Cold War: Dior in Moscow, 1959
TIME, July 14th

The models parading through Moscow that day were in the Russian capital ahead of a five-night Christian Dior fashion show. Yves Saint Laurent had recently taken over the brand's Parisian atelier and reimagined the seductive “New Look” for which the ...Read more

Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
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Raf Simons makes Christian Dior travel through history
Reuters, July 7th

PARIS (Reuters) - As Paris Haute Couture week gathered pace on its second day, Raf Simons offered a walk through history at Christian Dior, with a mix of 18th century-inspired dresses with side hoops and embroidered masculine court coats. The designer ...Read more

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New York Times, July 7th

It was not an accident, in other words, that Raf Simons set his Christian Dior show in a circular white construction that resembled nothing so much as a spaceship that had set down in the middle of the garden behind the Musée Rodin. The Bar jacket had ...Read more

Gallery: Christian Dior - Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Fall 2014
The Province, July 7th

A model walks the runway at the Christian Dior Fall 2014 Haute Couture collection show as part of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on July 7, 2014 in Paris, France. Photograph by: AP Photo, Jacques Brinon. Christian Dior Fall 2014 Haute Couture...Read more

Charlize Theron & Sean Penn Make One Hot Couple at Christian Dior Fashion ...
Just Jared, July 7th

Charlize Theron and Sean Penn pose for photos while attending the Christian Dior fashion show held during Paris Fashion Week – Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on Monday (July 7) in Paris, France. The 38-year-old actress and the 53-year-old actor ...Read more

Raf Simons is revitalising Christian Dior - and the rarefied world of French ...
The Independent, July 4th

Nevertheless, he's been commuting for a decade, first to Germany and Italy for Jil Sander, where he designed both the men's and women's line from 2005 until February 2012, and latterly for Christian Dior. We meet in May, when Simons presented his ...Read more