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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At the Christian Dior S/S '15 Show, Dakota Fanning, Olivia Palermo, Marion ...Bustle (satire) (press release) (registration), September 29th
As the month of September draws to a close, that (very sadly) means the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Fashion Month is quickly coming to an end, too. There's no clearer sign of that than the presentation of the Christian Dior Spring '15 collection...Read more
Christian Dior's Woven BootsNew York Times (blog), September 26th
The past, present and future all collided at today's Christian Dior spring 2015 show, which felt like an extension of the label's couture collection earlier this year. Modern versions of 18th-century gilets and court coats were paired with shoes...Read more
Slideshow: The Atmosphere at Dior Spring 2015Style.com, September 26th
Paris fashion week is under way, and here are the best shots from the scene at the Dior Spring 2015 show. Read our review and see the entire collection here. Trends / Fashion: Christian Dior Spring 2015 - Fashion Show Atmosphere. Share Tweet...Read more
Christian Dior's invisible runway at the Louvre is a hit at Paris fashion weekThe Guardian, September 26th
For a lesson in how to balance reverence with iconoclasm you need look no further than the catwalk shows of Raf Simons at Christian Dior. And this balancing act is not just a clever trick; the bottom line depends on it. For the veneration felt by...Read more
Style Christian Dior Spring 2015 Ready-to-WearStyle.com, September 26th
It referenced an 18th-century court coat, which evoked the historicism of Christian Dior's original Bar silhouette. Fashion present floats on an ocean of fashion past; Simons simply chose to ride the time machine a little further back. But he paired...Read more
Front Row Style at Christian Dior S/S 15 Fashion ShowIrish Independent, September 24th
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 26: Olivia Palermo attends the Christian Dior show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015 on September 26, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images). PARIS ...Read more