Christian Dior (1905-1957) was a French fashion designer.
Early life :
Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of Normandy. His father, Maurice Dior, was the owner of a highly successful fertilizer manufacturer. When Christian dior was about five years old, the family moved to Paris, but, still returned to Granville for summer holidays.
His family had hoped he would become a diplomat, but Dior was passionate about art. However, submitted to pressure from his father, he enrolled at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques. At the same time, he used to sell his fashion sketches for about 10 cents each…
In 1928, Dior opened a small art gallery with money he received from his father. Dior’s gallery handled the works of such artists as Matisse, Dali, Braque, Picasso, Cocteau and Max Jacob. But 3 years later, after the death of his mother and elder brother and a financial disaster in the family’s business during the Great Depression, the gallery had to be closed.
Early work in Fashion :
Dior began to sell his fashion sketches and in 1935, landed a job illustrating the magazine Figaro illustré. In 1937, he was hired as a design assistant by Paris couturier Piguet who gave him the opportunity to design 3 Piguet collections. Whilst at Piguet, Dior worked alongside Pierre Balmain. Christian Dior left Piguet when he was called up for military service. In 1942, he left the army and joined the fashion house of Lucien Lelong.
First collection : the “New Look” style.
His first collection (1947)
After the WWII, in 1946, Dior wished to start under his own name. His first collection called “Corolle” (= the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English) was presented in 1947. It featured narrow-waisted tightly fitted bodices and full pleated skirts. This became known as the “New Look” style.
“You can wear black at any time. Tony can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion. “A little black frock” is essential to a woman’s wardrobe.” Christian Dior
He was the master at creating shapes and silhouettes. He was then the most successful fashion designer in the world. He launched at the same time his first perfume “Miss Dior”.
“I have designed flower women” (Christian Dior)
The New Look revolutionized women’s dresses and reestablished Paris as the centre of the fashion world after WWII.His designs have been worn by film stars and Royalty alike. From 1955 until 1960, Yves Saint Laurent worked for Dior in Paris.
In 1957 Dior House represented half of the French exportation of fashion.
“Finally, everything that has been part of my life, whether I wanted it to or not, has expressed itself in my dresses” – Christian Dior
He died in Italy in 1957, of a heart attack at the age of 52. he was buried in Cimetière de Callian in Var (France.).
The Christian Dior’s house is now owned by Groupe Arnault. There are more than 160 Dior shops in the world.
“Les Rhumbs” : Christian Dior childhood home (it’s now Christian Dior Museum)
It’s a Belle Epoque style 19th century villa standing on the cliff and over looking the sea. It’s located in Granville, Normandy, not far from Mont Saint Michel. It is the only French Museum dedicated to a couturier. It presents Haute couture garments on 3 floors. The garden is still arranged as an English landscape park as it was by Madeleine Dior, Christian Dior’s mother.
Christian Dior’s parents bought this villa in 1905. Christian Dior was particularly fond of this place. he wrote in his autobiography “Christian Dior and I” : “I have most tender and amaze memories… of my childhood home. I would even say that my life and my stile owe almost everything to its site and architecture.”
In 1932, shortly after Christian Dior’s mother Madeleine had died, the father got ruined by the crisis and the property had to be sold. The villa was purchased by the town of Granville and the garden was open to the public from 1938. In 1997, the villa became the “Christian Dior Museum”The villa was purchased by the town of Granville and the garden was open to the public from 1938. In 1997, the villa became the “Christian Dior Museum”
Christian Dior perfumes :
Some of his most famous perfumes :
- 1947 : Miss Dior
- 1966 : first Eau de Toilette for men, Eau Sauvage
- 1985 : Poison which becomes a worldwide best-seller
- 1988 : Fahrenheit
- 1991 : Dune
- 1999 : J’adore
Practical information :
Christian Dior – 30 avenue Montaigne – Paris 8 (near the Champs Elysées) : A historical spot for fashion, which saw the birth of the New Look”. Dior presented its ready-to-wear collections for men and women there, as was as perfume and accessories. Babu Dior can be found just nex door. Opening times : Monday-Saturday 10am – 7pm – La Maison Dior : www.dior.com/couture/fr_fr/la-maison-dior/dior-en-histoires/30-avenue-montaigne – More about the “Maison Dior” : www.dior.com
Christian Dior Museum – Granville (Normandy – France)
- Opening time : from Thursday 5 May to Sunday 25 September 2016
- Every day from 10:00 to 18:30
Ticket office closes at 18:00.
- The shop inside the museum : selection of books related to fashion and Christian Dior, catalogue-books of the pas exhibitions, postcards, posters, historical fragrances and Dior gifts.
- A tea room : in the heart of Christian childhood’s garden, overlooking the sea, opened during July and August from 12 to 6.30 pm. free access independent of the museum’s entrance.
- Address : Villa “Les Rhumbs”, 1 rue d’Estouteville – 50400 GRANVILLE Tél : 02 33 61 48 21 –
- Website : musee-dior-granville.com
Some books about Christian Dior :
- “Christian Dior, the man who made the world Look New” – Marie-France Pochna (1996) Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (Amazon.com)
- Dior by Dior” by Christian dior : Christian Dior’s autobiography offering a rare glimpse behind the scenes of haute couture. Dior by Dior Deluxe Edition: The Autobiography of Christian Dior (Amazon.com)
Song : The English singer-songwriter Morrissey released a song titled “Christian Dior” as an B-side to his 2006 single “In the future when All’s well”
The Cinema and Christian Dior :
“Dior and I” (documentary 2015) : Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director
Official trailer :
Some actresses who wore Dior dresses :
Marlene Dietrich : “No Dior, no Dietrich”
Marlène Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Haviland, Sharon Stone, Monica Bellucci, Elisabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth… Now : Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman
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