We all know the name Christian Dior, but not many fully appreciate the major influence that this individual has had over the entire fashion industry. Born in 1905 in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of Normandy, Dior was always passionate about art, and, after he had to close the art gallery he owned, Dior began selling sketches to haute couture houses, soon landing himself a job as an assistant couturier. This was interrupted in 1939 when World War II began, but Dior continued developing his skills, creating dresses for the wives of the German and French soldiers. Once the war was over, new opportunities for businesses, including fashion, started to arise, and this is when Dior’s influential ideas and designs started to take the world by storm.
The New Look
Once the war ended, Dior strongly believed that the public was ready for a new style, and, in his first couture fashion show in 1947, the New Look was born. Dior delivered excitement at a time when the French couture trade was faltering, giving the public a look that was reminiscent of the Belle Epoque ideal. With long, full flowing skirts, tiny waists, soft shoulders and luxurious fabrics, the New Look was a huge success.
After The New Look
Dior’s subsequent collections after the New Look were developments of the original style, with the collections named after the silhouettes that the garments had. From the A-Line to the Zig Zag Line to the Arrow Line, all of Dior’s collections were created with the finest tailoring and the most luxurious fabrics. Each collection consisted of around 200 pieces, with new collections contradicting many elements of past collections, bringing a rate of change to the fashion industry that had not been experienced before. Dior himself would release style statements along with each collection, informing the public that there was to be “no yellow” that season, or “no hats with clean and tailored style”. The press would pick up on this and repeat it to the wider public, giving the industry a force that it had not seen before.
Dior’s Influence on Upcoming Designers
Being one of the most highly respected couture houses in Paris, Dior had his pick when it came to talented assistants, and it was some of these lucky few that were able to learn from the master, and go on to become significant fashion influencers themselves. Pierre Cardin was one of these, as was Yves St-Laurent, who contributed a number of outfits to Dior’s collections.
Sadly, in 1957 at the age of 52, Dior died after suffering from his third heart attack. At the time, his fashion house was bringing in over $20 million a year, and his financier decided to appoint Yves St-Laurent as artistic director, allowing the label to survive its founder. To this day, Christian Dior is still one of the most well respected, as well as famous, designers in the world, and the brand continues to produce designs that are synonymous with Christian Dior’s original standards of taste, elegance and luxury.