Designer 101: Christian Dior

It’s about that time again, time to learn a little fashion history about a very popular designer Mr. Christian Dior. He was born in France in 1905 . After fighting in WWII and dealing art for a while he got his start in fashion by sketching dresses and hats. In 1946, he started his own line and his first collection had 90 outfits worn by 6 girls. Poor things…

Dior didn’t like the style for women during the 1940’s, which in his opinion was becoming too masculine and covered up.  Dior said he wanted to “Bring back beauty, feminine clothing, soft rounded shapes and full flowing skirts” like the women in the 1930’s.  In 1947, he debuted his new collection, most popularly known as “the new look”.

Dior’s original 1947 collection

The new look consisted of a rounded shoulders, cinched waist and bell skirts created in luxurious fabrics. The look was meant to accentuate a womens natural hour glass figure.

Dior’s “new look” catapulted him to fame. Dior’s designs were worn by some of the most famous actresses of the time,  Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich.

Pictured above is Rita Hayworth in one of Dior’s designs

Pictured above are some of Dior’s costume designs for Ava Gardener in the 1957 movie The Little Hut.

Dior also designed the costumes for Marlene Dietrich in the 1950’s Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright.

Due to his massive popularity, Dior was the first designer to have his picture on the cover of Time Magazine in 1957.

Christian Dior’s Style Influences

He popularized peplum dresses.

This is a Dior peplum evening gown from 1950.

Here are a few examples of  modern peplum dresses. I bet you have something that looks like this in your closet! I do!

Dior’s “new look” also re-populuarized full-skirted very feminine dresses.

1950’s Dior dress

Sarah Jessica Parker

In 1957,  Dior sadly died of a sudden heart attack. The fashion world mourned his loss, but his legacy and brilliant vision lived on. In 1958, Yves Saint Laurent became the head designer for the Dior Empire.

Pictured above is Yves Saint Laurent’s first collection as head designer at Dior in 1958.

Yves Saint Laurent designed for Dior for many years before John Galliano was appointed designer in 1996.  Galliano stayed true to the Dior legacy while adding romance and drama to the Dior brand along with some serious fashion show theatrics.

2 Responses to “Designer 101: Christian Dior”
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  1. […] here! *squeals with excitement* John Galliano designed some amazingness! I love the nod to the new look with the full skirts and the cinched waists. Here are some of my […]

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