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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Haute couture comes alive in 'Dior and I'San Francisco Examiner, April 24th
Shortly after arriving at Dior in 2012, new artistic director Raf Simons must make a personal imprint on the fashion scene and essentially channel Christian Dior, the 20th-century legend famed for his elaborate, feminine designs. Something of a misfit...Read more
'Dior and I' takes the measure of new Christian Dior bossSFGate, April 23rd
Christian Dior â€” the man, not the name â€” has been dead since 1955, and yet somehow the company he created and ran for only a decade has remained an important force in fashion. A series of chief designers have maintained the Dior tradition, combining ...Read more
Dior: The ComicVogue.co.uk, April 23rd
Graphic novelist Annie Goetzinger is the brains behind the (Dior-approved) book, which chronicles the journey of fictional journalist Clara as she is enlisted to report upon Christian Dior's seminal 1947 show, and catches the eye of the designer himself...Read more
We Have No Idea What Emma Watson Is Wearing, But We Do Know We Love ItTheGloss, April 22nd
But here's the thing: I have no idea how to describe what Emma is wearing. The basics of her outfit are obviousâ€“Emma wore tailored gray pants and a black, scooped-back top, both by Christian Dior, and lace-up stilettosâ€“but there was one piece that...Read more
Dior in ActionW Magazine, April 17th
When she decided to create a fashion comic, French illustrator Anne Goetzinger considered her country's three most iconic designers: Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior. She began researching and was struck by the preponderance of ...Read more
Film Review: 'Dior And I' Details The Label's New 'New Look'Forbes, April 16th
The success of FrĂ©dĂ©ric Tchang's film, â€śDior and I,â€ť is in its timing. The documentary might have done well as a simple behind-the-scenes look into the making of an haute couture collection, but it also came at a pivotal point for Christian Dior. After...Read more
Christian Dior, Cultural Services of the French Embassy Toast Comic BookWWD, April 14th
Dior in Living Color: On Monday evening, Christian Dior and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy toasted the English-language release of narrative comic book â€śGirl in Dior.â€ť The French house hosted a discussion with the title's author, Annie ...Read more
Dior And I is an entertaining glimpse behind the curtain of a fashion empireA.V. Club DC, April 9th
Read a synopsis of FrĂ©dĂ©ric Tcheng's engrossing documentary and it might seem like it's all about a single genius, clothing designer Raf Simons, hired to bring a fresh perspective to the Christian Dior fashion house. In execution, however, the film is...Read more