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By Hannah Turnbaugh

Christian Dior, the Designer •  Christian Dior was born in Granville, France on January 21, 1905 •  He was the 2nd of 5 children, born to a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer •  At the age of 5 his family moved to Paris

•  Despite expressing a passion for art, Dior succumb to the pressure of his father and enrolled at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in 1925 to study political science •  Upon graduation he opened his own art gallery, handling the works of famous artists such as Barque and Picasso •  In 1931 he lost the gallery and sold design sketches for several cents to make ends meet

•  After France surrendered during WWII, Dior was hired as a head designer and couturier for Lucien Lelong, where he dressed both French women and the wives of Nazi officers •  In December of 1946, Dior opened his own fashion house, The House of Christian Dior •  His first collection was titled by the press as the “New Look”, as he set the tone for what fashion post WWII would look like

•  Initially he received criticism for his excessive use of fabrics, sometimes using up to 20 yards a garment, at a time when the public was used to a wartime ration and shortage of fabrics •  Christian Dior died from a massive heart attack while vacationing in Italy in 1957, he was 52 •  Upon his death, Dior’s assistant Yves Saint Laurent took over creative control of the brand

Signature Elements •  Very feminine •  Full, structured skirts (often mid-calf in length) •  Nipped, or “wasp” waists •  Corseted bodices •  Emphasis on bust and waist •  Opulent, lots of fabric

Dior’s famous “Bar suit”

Dominant Fibers •  Backed by textile magnate, Marcel Boussac, Dior was called the world’s first “industrial fashion designer” •  Textiles were extremely important to him, always keeping in mind the fabrics he wanted to use before he began sketching •  Fibers such as cotton, silk, acetate, nylon, rayon and taffeta were all fibers that Dior used frequently •  The most common (and arguably) important fiber used in his early designs was wool because many of his designs required a sturdy, rigid fabric to form such dramatic silhouettes

The Importance of the “New Look” •  Christian Dior’s designs were so historically important because they were essentially a rejection of everything that was influenced by the war and rationing •  He single-handedly changed the direction women’s wear was headed in his short career

“I have designed flower women”

“There are moments when fashion changes fundamentally… This is one of those moments.” - Vogue UK, 1947

Dior Today •  Today the House of Christian Dior S.A. designs and retails couture dresses, ready-to-wear, leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, eyewear, jewelry, time pieces, fragrances, and skin care products •  The Christian Dior Couture label is responsible for maintaining the haute couture division of the fashion house •  While the company’s primary focus is on women’s wear, Dior Homme provides men’s wear offerings and Baby Dior provides children’s wear

•  235 boutiques worldwide •  RTW collections are primarily sold in house •  Licensed goods are typically sold in luxury department stores (Barneys, Harrods) •  Women’s RTW is available in sizes 2-14 •  RTW usually ranges anywhere from $200$4,000+

Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2012

The Dior Girl Dior women’s wear is positioned extremely high in the retail market Age: 18-44, with a focus on 25-34 Residence: Greater metropolitan area, homeowner Education: College degree or higher Income: $100,000+ Marital Status: Married, No children They value their leisure time, as well as high-end merchandise and living an upper class lifestyle, and are seeking feminine, sophisticated, polished, chic, fashion-forward garments

Dior’s Influence •  Yves Saint Laurent was Dior’s assistant at the time of his death, finding himself the head of the House of Dior at age 21 •  He was greatly influenced by his mentor throughout his career, combining the elegance of Dior’s women’s wear with a more refined aesthetic

•  John Galliano was hired as head designer by Dior in 1996 •  He was hired based on his similar, feminine aesthetics as the late Christian Dior •  Many of his collections with the fashion house were inspired by Dior’s original collections, constantly playing off of the “flower woman” concept that originally inspired Dior •  He was let go by the company due to anti-Semitic remarks he made in 2011

Why I Admire Christian Dior What captures my attention the most about Christian Dior was his ability to combine drama and elegance to create a breathtaking wearable work of art He used silhouette, shape, and detail to create a female form that, although extremely dramatized and opulent, made any woman look beautiful, sophisticated, and regal

Christian Dior  

The history of designer Christian Dior and his legendary brand.