When Christian Dior introduced his New Look in 1947, it was not the product of decades in the trenches as a fashion designer. Rather, Diorâ€™s famous postwar collection marked his professional debut.
Which is not to say that the collection was purely a case of beginnerâ€™s luck. Dior had been in the Paris fashion world for years, including productive stints as assistants to Robert Piguet and Lucien LĂ©long. 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, Diorâ€™s collection was a bouquet of bounty, with yards upon yards of fabric lavished on just one dress. The fashion press was smitten, with â€śHarperâ€™s Bazaarâ€ť being the first to call it the New Look.
In fact, there was much that was not new at all about Diorâ€™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 (â€śVogueâ€ť 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 womenâ€”fellow Parisian Coco Chanel dismissed Diorâ€™s look as the equivalent of dressing women up like armchairs.
Perhaps in deference to his critics, Diorâ€™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 Diorâ€™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 Diorâ€™s unique aesthetic.
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Today's Princesses Can Thank THIS Designer, Who Basically Invented Modern ...Glamour (blog), October 28th
Not to get all history-major on you, but there's always a lot of worth in looking backward, and when the Daily Mail posted a story about Christian Dior's cozy relationship with the British monarchy back in the late '40s and '50s, well, I was hooked...Read more
Christian Dior Spring 2015 men's collectionBe Global Fashion Network, October 27th
I wanted a sense of renewal and an idea of Christian Dior's artistic milieu to come through as well as his love of formality and tradition â€“ here the bourgeois meets the artist, but very much in the present day. There is still the idea of the...Read more
Fashion books of the moment: Ann Demeulemeester, Christian Dior, H&MThe Sun Daily, October 25th
Fashion books of the moment: Ann Demeulemeester, Christian Dior, H&M. Posted on 28 October 2014 - 03:05am. Print. WE check out the latest crop of fashion books with new releases this fall from a trio of big names. Ann Demeulemeester. With an ...Read more
How to really dress a princess: Sixty years ago, high society fell in love ...Daily Mail, October 25th
Long before the 'Kate effect', Princess Margaret whipped the nation into a fashion frenzy when she became the poster girl for Christian Dior's designs in the 1950s. For Dior, an ardent Anglophile, the love affair was mutual, culminating in a...Read more
#TBT: Vintage Pics Of Christian Dior's DesignsStyelist CA (blog), October 23rd
It's #ThrowbackThursday and we're taking the opportunity to look back at some of the most stylish people, places, and things of the past. Today's subject is Christian Dior. The French fashion designer, couturier, and founder of one of the world's most...Read more
Monsieur Dior: The Newest Book for Fashion FanaticsForbes, October 22nd
Her latest book explores how in the 10 years prior to his death, Christian Dior was able to build a brand strong enough to last 68 yearsâ€“and counting. Photographs from legends such as Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lord Snowdon, and Willy Maywald...Read more
Cabine fever: inside Dior's fitting roomTelegraph.co.uk, October 16th
Christian Dior treated his fashion house as a family, considering his models his "enfants". But their careers could be exhausting, unstable and full of rivalry, as well as fun. In an extract from her new book, Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni explores the...Read more
The empire strikes back as ex-Dior designer John Galliano makes his return to ...The Independent, October 6th
It was officially announced today, after months of swirling speculation, that John Galliano, 53, the British designer who formerly headed an eponymous label and the house of Christian Dior, has been appointed creative director of Maison Martin Margiela...Read more