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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FIRST LOOK: Rihanna For DiorVogue.co.uk, May 14th
RIHANNA's campaign for Christian Dior has been revealed - or two very short glimpses of it at least. The singer - who spoke in March about what a "big deal" the appointment was for "young girls of any colour" as she became the first black woman to...Read more
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For the Christian Dior Cruise 2016 collection, Raf Simons was inspired by the colors, textures and light of the natural landscapes on the French Riviera, and by the look of those who have inhabited it. The creator relied on technique and tradition to...Read more
Christian Dior's Cannes CoupVogue.co.uk, May 12th
It wasn't just the fact that Raf Simons is a fan of the place, there is a neat synergy here too: we all know Dior has a long affiliation with the South of France (Christian Dior had a home in the village of Montauroux), but Pierre Cardin worked in the...Read more
Style Christian Dior Resort 2016Style.com, May 11th
THIS FALL STYLE.COM IS CHANGING. Be the first to find out more... Sign Up. THIS FALL STYLE.COM IS CHANGING. Be the first to find out more... Sign Up · News · Trends · Street · Beauty · Culture · Fashion Shows · Shop · Video · Newsletter · Facebook ...Read more
MusĂ©e Christian Dior to Focus on New Look RevolutionBLOUIN ARTINFO, May 5th
The Bar suit ushered in a new fashion era and this summer, the MusĂ©e Christian Dior is celebrating its story with â€śDior, the New Look Revolution,â€ťan exhibition dedicated to the iconic creation that has continued to inspire new generations of designers...Read more
Documentary goes behind the scenes at Christian DiorDetroit Free Press, April 30th
KENNETH TURAN, LOS ANGELES TIMES If the ungodly star-driven media frenzy that surrounds the spring collections of the great Paris houses like Christian Dior is the public face of designer fashion, "Dior and I" shows us that what goes on behind ...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