Christian Dior was born in a little town of Granville, Normandy in France but moved to Paris when he was 5. He had 2 brothers and 2 sisters.
Dior was creative from a very young age and used to sell his fashion sketches outside his house to earn some money. His father loaned him and a friend some money to open up their own gallery. The gallery was only open for 3 years, Christian decided to close following the death of his mother and one of his brothers. Also, the gallery had become under financial difficulty during the great depression.
To make ends meet after the closing of this gallery Dior sold is fashion sketches and eventually landed a job illustrating for the magazine Figaro Illustre. In 1937 he was hired by designer Robert Piguet. While he was there, he was able to design three collections and create an iconic day dress called ‘café anglais’. In 1938 at the start of the Second World War Dior was drafted and served in the south of France as an officer. However once France surrendered to the Nazi’s in 1942 Dior returned to Paris and worked for couturier Lucien Lelong. Which catered for both Nazi and French collaborators. Christian Dior’s sister Catherine served as a member of the French resistance until she was captured by the Gestapo and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp until she was freed in 1945.
After the Second World War was over in 1946 Dior coincidently met an old friend from the fashion world who was looking for a fashion designer for Marcel Boussac (who was a very successful financial backer at the time). Marcel Boussac was looking for someone to take over and hopefully revive the struggling fashion house Phillippe et Gaston. Dior famously didn’t think of himself at first and is said to have met up with his friend Georges Vigouroux three times before realising that he should suggest himself for the role. After meeting Marcel Boussac and having a look over the plans for the fashion house. Christian Dior turned down the offer the take over the fashion house but was able to convince Marcel Boussac to back him instead and create his own fashion house under his own name, ‘CHRISTIAN DIOR’. On 8th December 1946 the fashion house was born.
Dior wanted to take his fashion line back in time. He didn’t like the current fashion trends of the straight box lines, the practicality of it. Due to the war people thought less and less of their clothing and thought more of the practical side of it. He wanted women to think of themselves as the elegant, regal figures. He wanted to use old techniques, an hourglass figure, to bring back an elegance that had been lost due to the war.
His first collection was called Corolle which was debuted on the 12th February 1947. It had 90 different outfits, but the standout outfit was the iconic white jacket and full pleated black skirt which is what everyone thinks of when there told about Dior’s ‘NEW LOOK’ collection. It was Editor in Chief of Harpers Bazaar, Carmel Snow that created the iconic saying the NEW LOOK for his collection. Saying ‘It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a New LOOK!’.
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