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November 25, 2022
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DESIGNERS

Christian Dior

Granville, France is the place of birth of the renowned French fashion designer Christian Dior, who lived from 1905 to 1957. Dior, a descendant of a manufacturing family of the Norman bourgeoisie, spent his early childhood in the luxurious surroundings of the family villa, Les Rhumbs, which was located on the coast of the Channel in Granville. Today, the villa serves as the location of a museum that is dedicated to Dior’s memory. During that time period, the little port was renowned as a chic seaside resort, and during the summer months, it was turned into “an exquisite Paris suburb.” In 1911, the family relocated to Paris, settling in the affluent new district of Passy, which was located close to the Bois de Boulogne.
After completing his baccalaureate studies and according to the advice of his father, Christian Dior enrolled at the École des Sciences Politiques in Paris. He had a keen interest in the creative movements taking place in Paris and made the acquaintance of a number of authors, artists, and musicians, including but not limited to Pierre Gaxotte, Maurice Sachs, Jean Ozenne, and his cousin Christian Bérard, as well as Max Jacob and Henri Sauguet. Following his time spent serving in the military, and with his father’s encouragement, he launched an art gallery in 1927 at number 34, rue de la Boétie. The business was given the name of his colleague, Jacques Bonjean, as a compromise when his parents objected to having their name appear on a sign for a commercial enterprise. Contemporary artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Maurice Utrillo, Salvador Dal, Raoul Dufy, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Jean Lurcat, Pablo Picasso, Ossip Zadkine, Georges Braque, and Aristide Maillol had their works shown at the gallery.
Christian Dior’s idyllic childhood was cut short all too quickly: in 1931, his brother was sent to a mental hospital, his mother passed away, and his father’s financial situation was in shambles. Dior’s response, which he described as a “flight to the East,” came “in the face of this accumulation of disasters.” He embarked on a study trip to the Soviet Union with a group of architects because he was “naively impelled by a desperate search for a new solution to problems that this crisis of capitalism had made acute.” However, when he returned home, he discovered that his associate had also been financially devastated. His family was living in abject poverty, so they were forced to flee Paris and take shelter first in Normandy and then in the town of Callian, which is located close to Cannes. Dior remained in Paris, where he eventually shut down his original gallery and joined Pierre Colle’s gallery on the avenue Cambacérès. As a result, he transitioned from making losses to making forced sales while simultaneously continuing to host surrealist or abstract exhibits that drove away the remaining art aficionados. In 1934, he suffered from an episode of TB, and his friends decided to start a collection in order to pay for his medical care. The year after that, he found himself in Paris without a job or a place to live and without any means of support. He was able to survive thanks to the sale of one of his last paintings, which was Raoul Dufy’s Le plan de Paris. It had been sold to Christian Dior by the fashion designer Paul Poiret when Poiret was in a similar financial bind.
The terms “Couture” and “Costume”
Dior was first introduced to the fashion industry and his clients by Jean Ozenne, who at the time was working as a designer for couture businesses. When he was thirty years old, Christian Dior decided to commit himself to the study of fashion sketching. When he did so, he solely referred to what he understood and liked about Edward Molyneux, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Jeanne Lanvin. He was successful in selling his initial drawings of headgear, and then he moved on to selling outfits. His customers included couture businesses and hat manufacturers that catered to the fashion industry, but he “also offered concepts to international consumers.” His paintings were initially recognized by the public when they were published in the magazine Le Figaro. In 1937, the couturier Robert Piguet chose four of his ideas and ordered him to manufacture them for his “half-collection.” The “half-collection” is another name for the “midseason collection.” When Christian Dior designed these gowns, he was just thirty-two years old, and he described them as the “first garments that I actually produced.”
In June of 1938, Robert Piguet extended an invitation to work as a designer in the couture studio that he owned at the Rond Point of the Champs-Élysées. There, he created three collections in a succession to showcase his work. The second collection included his “first broad dresses,” which were modeled by the garments that the young protagonists of “les petites filles modèles” wore in the children’s literature of the French Second Empire (well-behaved little girls). They had a “raised breast, circular breadth beginning at the waist, and petticoat of English needlework,” which were the distinguishing features of these garments. He was given the opportunity to meet Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, due to the fact that he was the successful designer of the “English coffee” concept. His last prewar collection for Piguet was in 1939, and it was there that he introduced the line of gowns that later became known as “amphora dresses,” which marked the “beginning of rounded hips.” In addition to his work as a fashion designer, Dior also made custom theatrical costumes for a number of different clientele. He dressed the actress Odette Joyeux, for instance, in Jean Blanchon’s Captain Smith (performed at the Théâtre des Mathurins in December 1939) and in Richard Sheridan’s The School for Scandal (performed at the same theater in February 1940).
At the onset of war in 1939, Dior was called up for military service. After the armistice in 1940, he was able to reunite with his family in an area of France that was not occupied. Piguet, who was still in Paris at the time, urged him to continue his post from before the war, but Dior was late in answering, and when he checked, he discovered that Antonio del Castillo had already filled the role in the autumn of 1941. After that, Dior found employment with Lucien Lelong, where he worked with another young designer named Pierre Balmain. The two collaborated on designs throughout the duration of the war. “Balmain and I never forgot that Lelong taught us our profession in the middle of the toughest limitations,” remarked Dior. “Balmain and I never forgot that Lelong taught us our profession.” The personality of Lucien Lelong, who served as president of the Chambre syndicate de la couture parisienne (the Parisian organization of haute couture) when France was occupied by the Germans, had a significant impact on the future couturier. Dior’s interest in high-end ready-to-wear as well as international markets began to emerge with the debut of his Edition line in 1935 and a research trip he took to the United States the previous year. On the other hand, he described the style that was prevalent under the German occupation as “appalling,” and he screamed, “With what angry delight did I do the reverse later?”
It was nonetheless a productive period for him: films (Le Lit à colonne by Roland Tual [1942], Lettre d’amour [1942] and Sylvie et le fantôme [1945] by Claude Autant-Lara, Échec au roi by Jean-Paul Paulin [1943], and Paméla; ou, L’énigme du temple by Pierre de Hérain [1945]) and Marcel L’Herbier’s play Au
Pierre Balmain, a colleague of Christian Dior who worked in the fashion industry, established his own couture firm in 1945 on rue Francois Ier and pushed Dior to do the same thing. A famous French textile producer named Marcel Boussac, who was also the head of the cotton-marketing syndicate, approached Christian Dior with an offer to take creative leadership of the Gaston enterprise, which was previously known as Philippe et Gaston and is located on street Saint-Florentin. In place of the business, which Dior believed to be obsolete, he recommended that he establish a couture house “where everything would be new, from the state of mind and the personnel to the furnishings and the premises,” in light of the fact that “foreign markets, after the long stagnation of fashion due to the war, were bound to demand really new fashions.” Sixty million Swiss francs were contributed to the endeavor by Marcel Boussac.
The Dior fashion house
In 1946, Christian Dior selected a private home at number 30 avenue Montaigne to serve as the location of his own company, which he launched on October 8 of that same year. The company had a total of 85 workers, of whom sixty were seamstresses, and four models to showcase their wares. In addition to the head couturier, the management team consisted of a financial director named Jacques Rouet, a studio head named Raymonde Zehnacker, who had previously worked for Lelong, a head of workshops named Marguerite Carré, who had previously worked for Patou, as well as an artistic adviser and a head of high-fashion design (Mitzah Bricard, a designer from Molyneux). Within the couture house itself were two dressmaking studios and one tailoring workshop. At the helm of the tailoring department was Pierre Cardin, who was just twenty years old at the time. Additionally, it featured, from the very beginning, on the ground level, a retail store that sold items and accessories that did not need fitting. Victor Grampierre was responsible for the interior design of the salons and stores, which had a neo–Louis XVI style furnishings and were adorned in tones of white and pearl gray.
The opening was the subject of extensive coverage: “When the summer 1946 collections came out, everyone was talking about Christian Dior, because an extraordinary rumor was spreading that the financial assistance of Marcel Boussac, the French king of cotton and would enable him to create his own house.” Even before it was shown to the public, Christian Dior’s debut collection created headlines, and as a result, the fashion editors at Vogue, Le Figaro, and Elle gave him their backing. At the end of the winter fashion shows in 1947, Christian Dior, then a relative unknown in the world of haute couture, presented his first collection for the upcoming spring season. At the age of forty-two, it is considered the opening shot for the New Look, and the couturier rose to prominence almost immediately as a result of its success. “The first season was much better than I could have hoped for,” he stated of it. The second, in which the couturier took “the famed New Look line to its utmost,” was a “breathtaking” success and was complemented by the debut of his first fragrance, Miss Dior. Both of these events occurred simultaneously.
As a result of this motivation, Christian Dior spent the last 10 years of his life creating his couture company and expanding his impact on fashion all over the globe. (The house of Dior had one thousand personnel working in twenty-eight workshops in the year 1955 and was responsible for fifty percent of the total exports made by the French couture industry.) In 1947, Christian Dior was honored with the Neiman Marcus Award for his very first collection. After traveling to the United States, he came away with the realization that, in his words, “if I wanted to reach the enormous number of attractive American ladies, I had to create a luxury ready-to-wear boutique in New York.” This was what he said after returning from his trip. The next year, he established the Christian Dior New York, Inc. division at 745 Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 1953, he established Christian Dior Venezuela in Caracas, and in 1954, he established Christian Dior, Ltd. in London. Subsequently, he established Christian Dior in Australia, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba. These firms offered accessories and produced fashions to customer specifications in Paris. But it wasn’t until 1967 that Miss Dior, the brand name of the company’s actual ready-to-wear collection, was released to the public.
The Christian Dior perfume business was established in 1948, and it released its second scent, Diorama, in 1949. This was followed by the releases of Eau Fraiche in 1953 and Diorissimo in 1956. In 1955, the firm released its first lipsticks. The Christian Dior Delman firm, which manufactured shoes designed by Roger Vivier, was created in 1951, and Christian Dior launched a stocking and glove section in 1951. In 1954, the Paris store added a presents and tableware department to its offerings. A highly forward-thinking approach to licensing led to the expansion of the Dior brand’s product offerings, the first of which was accomplished in 1949 when a license was given to the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house. By doing this, the label was added to all of the accessories of feminine apparel, ranging from the girdle to the jewelry; but, very early on, it was also affixed to entirely other goods, such as Christian Dior Ties (1950).
The rise of the house was helped along by a straightforward and efficient public relations program. There was very little direct advertising, but the house maintained strong contacts with the press, which ensured that the garments, as well as their designer, were given a considerable deal of exposure (who was featured on the cover of Time on 4 March 1957). The couturier continued to dress stars such as Marlene Dietrich in Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright in 1950 and Henry Koster’s No Highway in the Sky in 1951 and Ava Gardner in Mark Robson’s The Little Hut in 1956. He also gave many interviews, designed disguises for memorable parties (including the Venetian ball of Carlos de Beistegui given at the Palazzo Labia on 3 September 1951), and designed disguises for memorable parties. Dior detailed his work in the book “Christian Dior et moi,” which was published in 1956. The book was filled with Parisian celebrities, pitfalls, coups de théatre, and palm reader’s forecasts. In passing, he reassured the reader about the motivations for his long-ago trip to the Soviet Union and emphasized his admiration for the entrepreneurial spirit, which helped to forge the paradoxical myth of the creator of scandals with a reassuring face. He also emphasized his admiration for the entrepreneurial spirit.
The anticipation of a new significant alteration, which was then followed by the disclosure of the change, served to draw even more focus each year upon the collections (affecting, notably, the length of skirts). The couturier himself released detailed communiqués, which were accepted by the press and often had a commanding tone, such as “No yellow.” “or “No hats with a clean and cut design,” lending credence to the latest trend in fashion. The collections, which each consisted of around two hundred things, revealed in rapid succession seemingly conflicting lines that forced on fashion a velocity of change that had never been seen before: Corolle and 8, released in 1947, are collectively referred to as the “New Look collection.” “; Zig-Zag and Envol, followed by Ailée (1948); Trompe-l’oeil and Milieu de Siècle (1949); Verticale and Oblique (1951); Ovale ou Naturelle and Longue (1951); Sinueuse and Profilée (1952); Tulipe and Vivante (1953); Muguet and H (1954), A and Y (1955); Flèche and Aimant (1956); and Libre and Fuseau (1957).
Contributions of the Belle Époque to the Development of the New Look
His works, despite the fact that their lines were distinct from one another, were inextricably linked to one another due to the persistence of certain qualities. The dresses were designed with the goal of sculpting the figure along certain lines, which informed the designs’ structural decisions. The body was always very heavily styled, whether it was the New Look, the Shock Look (the English name for the Vivante line), or the Flat Look (the H line). It seemed that the waist had been moved, cinched, or unbelted. The hips swelled or shrank thanks to the choice of materials that were able to express in shapes the energetic and tense designs of the couturier: shantung, ottoman silk, thick taffetas and satins, velvet, organza, woolen cloth, and cotton piqué generally replaced the customary use of fluid woolen and silk crepes. The hips were able to express the energetic and tense designs of the couturier. Christian Dior, the creator of a style that utilized a significant amount of material, artifices, and ornaments, was instrumental in the development of a number of parallel industries, including those that produce corsets, feathers, embroiderers, makers of costume jewelry, flower designers, and also illustrators. Therefore, the picture of the works of Christian Dior incorporates the shoes of Roger Vivier, the prints of Brossin de Méré, the tulles of Brivet, the textiles of Rébé (René Bégué) and Georges Barbier, the jewelry of Francis Winter, and the sketches of René Gruau. The couture company has specialized workshops where they made things like furs and hats. These workshops were responsible for making things like furs and hats.
Dior’s designs were typically identifiable stylistically by the use of decorations that were taken straight from fashions that existed before to 1914. Trompe l’oeil embellishments like as simulated knots, fake pockets, ornate buttons, play with cuffs, collars, basques, and tails, false belts, and bias cuts interrupted his collections and, from the very beginning, eliminated any modernist ambitions.
Dior did not elaborate on where he got his inspiration for his signature style. In particular, he expressed only elliptical intentions to justify the inspiration for his New Look: “I have a reactionary temperament, a trait that is too often confused with the retrograde; we had barely come out of an impoverished, frugal era, obsessed with ticket and textile rationing. I have a reactionary temperament.” My dream therefore assumed the shape of a response against poverty, as it occurred to me spontaneously. Because of this, we should search for an unambiguous statement of his historical inspiration within the framework of the presenting of his performances. When asked about the refurbishment of the mansion on avenue Montaigne, the couturier stated that he was attempting “to prepare a cradle in the style and the colors of the years of [his] Paris childhood.” He went on to describe the interior as having “this neo-Louis XVI, white paneling, lacquered white furniture, gray hangings, glass doors with small beveled panes, bronze wall lamps, and small lamp shades that ruled from 1900 to The store, on the recommendation of Christian Bérard, was given a hanging of fabric of Jouy “in the spirit of concept shops of the eighteenth century.” He presented a “crystal chandelier and a proliferation of palms.”
Alongside this nostalgic neo-neo-Louis XVI style, which is a real mirroring of pastiche, Christian Dior seems to derive the material artifice of his pleated, draped, corseted, and adorned effects from the clothing lexicon of the Belle Époque throughout his whole career. “I thank heaven that I lived in Paris during the last years of the belle époque, and whatever life has granted me since then, nothing will ever be able to equal the sweet memory of those days,” he wrote. “It will never be possible for anything to ever be able to equal the sweetness of the memory of those days.” But the designer avoided the dominance of a particular style in order to liberate himself to accept all of the conceivable reinterpretations of the past by picking a time in which taste was diverse as his favorite and making it his signature period.
The legibility of the line was not hindered in any way by the structural artifices or the abundance of appliquéd decorations. In a strange twist, the understated elegance of Dior’s designs was what drew the most attention to his masterpieces. The decorative resources that were acquired from fashion at the beginning of the century were efficiently employed with a concern for modernism that was opposed to the composite. This serves as proof of an eclectic sensibility. It looked as if the creation of each model was only directed by the focus placed on a particular effect at a time. When moving on to the next model, one’s attention was switched, for example, from the focus of a cut to the shimmering of a pattern or to the luxuriance of the needlework. This continued until all of the models had been seen. The directed gaze, which was channeled by the erasure of the superfluous, such as by the notorious choice of uniform and subdued colors when the cut was to be emphasized or, on the contrary, by the choice of a simple cut to emphasize the fabric, guaranteed the visual impact of each model and pointed up its strong identity. It was thus beyond the scope of the individual model, and it was only during the course of the exhibition that the sequence of appearances made it possible to offer an aesthetic of the whole that was both composite and romantic.
This guy who was so wonderfully embedded in his century displayed a real postmodernist posture via the consistent use of stylistic borrowings from the past. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] According to Christian Dior, who expressed these thoughts himself, “It is strange that in 1956 people applied the names avant-garde and aesthetic of the future to the works and the masters that we had admired between the ages of fifteen and twenty and who had already been famous for ten years among the most aware of our elders, guided by Guillaume Apollinaire.”
But according to Dior, “the new at any cost, even to generate the ludicrous, is no longer the key domain of inquiry.” [Citation needed] After so many years of wandering, weary with consorting with only painters and poets, couture wished to return to the fold and rediscover its original function, which is to adorn women and make them more beautiful, he confided the origin of his first collections. “After so many years of wandering, weary with consorting with only painters and poets, couture wished to return to the fold and rediscover its original function,” he said. As a consequence of this, his haute couture, although continuing to be a luxury enjoyed only by the rich, looked to be accessible to each and everyone. By doing so, Christian Dior provided his stamp of approval to the very first democratization of taste, if not of fashion.
Because the couturier dictated the choice of accessories and the conditions that were proper for each ensemble, there was very little opportunity for personal expression, risk, and feminine imagination. This was because the couturier had designed the feminine shape to adhere to the design. On the other hand, the consistency of his “whole appearance” ensured that he would continue to be well-liked. Because of this, he was able to please a huge market, who, regardless of their national or individual dress traditions, recognized Christian Dior as a name of assured elegance. This allowed him to be successful. In the end, Dior’s idea of a fashion that could be worn was the same as his idea of a fashion that could be exported.
In quick succession, Christian Dior was an amateur of the avant-garde; next, he became an artisan of a type of return to order; and, lastly, he became a producer of elegance. He was the first celebrity couturier, and he passed away from a heart attack in Bagni di Montecatini, Italy, when he was fifty-two years old. The banker Marcel Boussac entertained the idea of shutting down the house at one point in time; nevertheless, in response to pressure from license holders, he nominated the young assistant Yves Saint Laurent as creative director, and the label outlasted its founder as a result of this decision. In 1960, Yves Saint Laurent stepped down from his position as creative director, and Marc Bohan filled the void until Gianfranco Ferré took it over in 1989.
Their designs maintained the illusion of a couture that was removed from the myriad of difficulties and manifestos that modern fashion presents. The traditionalism of Christian Dior was not challenged until 1997, when John Galliano joined the company. Galliano was the one who brought back the aggressive media exposure that Dior had originally created.

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