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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Christian Dior to open Gold Coast boutiqueChicago Tribune, January 27th
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6 Things To Love About Christian Dior's SS15 Couture CollectionMarie Claire.co.uk, January 27th
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Christian Dior's Raf Simons constructs a 1960s vision of the 21st centuryThe Guardian, January 26th
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Raf Simons's Spring 2015 Christian Dior Haute Couture show: Forget New Look ...The Independent, January 26th
As the first models strode out at Raf Simons's spring 2015 Christian Dior haute couture show, glistening in translucent plastic opera coats and embroidered floral lace dresses, legs stem-like in slender latex boots like fetisihy Allen Jones sculptures ...Read more
Ground control to Christian Dior: Raf Simons breathes new life into fashion ...Evening Standard, January 26th
While the past is a well trodden path for fashion designers who regularly stroll down memory lane in the hope of stumbling upon inspiration, it takes a true creative visionary to borrow a practiced idea and create something that is truly unique...Read more
Christian DiorStyle.com, January 26th
Raf Simons has always been open about his inspirations. Often, it's been a case of wearing his heart on his sleeve, all but literally, which has given his work an extraordinary amount of soulfulness. That's appropriate, given that music is his master...Read more