Fashion Mogul: Christian Dior

Fashion Mogul: Christian Dior

Christian Dior (French pronunciation: [kʁistjɑ̃ djɔːʁ]) (21 January 1905 – 23 October 1957) was a French fashion designer, best known as the founder of one of the world’s top fashion houses, also called Christian Dior.

Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of France, the second of the five children of Maurice Dior, a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer (the family firm was Dior Frères), and his wife, the former Madeleine Martin. He had four siblings: Raymond (father ofFrançoise Dior), Jacqueline, Bernard, and Ginette (aka Catherine).

Christian’s family had hopes he would become a diplomat, but Dior was artistic and wished to be involved in fashion. To make money, he sold his fashion sketches outside his house for about 10 cents each. In 1928 after leaving school he received money from his father to finance a small art gallery, where he and a friend sold art by the likes of Pablo Picasso.

After a financial disaster that resulted in his father losing control of Dior Frères, Christian Dior was forced to close the gallery. From the 1930s to the 1940s he worked with fashion designer Robert Piguet until being called up for military service. In 1942, having left the Army, Dior joined the fashion house of Lucien Lelong, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers. For the duration of World War II, Christian Dior, as an employee of Lelong—who labored to preserve the French fashion industry during wartime for economic and artistic reasons—dressed the wives of the Nazi officers and French collaborators, as did other fashion houses that remained in business during the war, including Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, and Nina Ricci. While her brother dressed Nazi wives, Dior’s sister Catherine (1917—2008) served as a member of the French Resistance, was captured by the Gestapo, and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp; she was liberated in May 1945.

On 16 December 1946 Dior founded his fashion house, backed by Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate. The actual name of the line of his first collection, presented in early 1947, was Corolle (literally the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English), but the phrase New Look was coined for it by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. Dior’s designs were more voluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric.[5] He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes; Dior is quoted as saying “I have designed flower women.” His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form.

Added on: January 27th, 2012

Category: DOCS, FASHION

 
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