With women growing tired of the masculine clothing styles that reigned supreme during the war years, Christian Dior’s New Look provided a welcome breath of fresh air and femininity.
Christian Dior was born into a wealthy family on 21 January 1905 in Normandy, France and by the age of 20 was selling his fashion sketches to make up his pocket money. Although his father pressured him to study political science, his family paid for Dior’s first small art gallery to allow him to showcase his surrealist paintings.
Before Dior’s 30th birthday his mother had passed away and his father’s business collapsed, so he started selling his dress and hat sketches whilst living with a friend’s attic before joining the fashion house Lucien Lelong as primary designer alongside Pierre Balmain.
Dior was able to open his own fashion house by receiving financial backing from textile magnet Marcel Boussac and by the age of 42 Dior had created what is known as the ‘New Look’.
Although many feminists protested against the New Look word had spread and he shot to fame as English women loved it, including HRH Princess Elizabeth, who, in 1948 arrived in Paris in the New Look, and by 1955 over 50% of France’s fashion exports and 5% of Frances total exports were by the house.
Dior soon launched perfume, with Miss Dior being his very first fragrance and it was his partnership with Harrods in London that saw ready-to-wear copies of Dior Couture on sale along with clothing in every category. Dior was always full of praise for English women, declaring that he adored them in their English tweeds and flowing dresses. Oddly (for a Frenchman) he loved English food too.
Princess Margaret ordered her 21stBirthday ballgown from the house and Her Highness was asked if she was a gold or a silver person. Having answered gold, she was presented with an ivory chiffon Cinderella gown with a petite waist and cascading golden straw embroidery. The gown was used for her official 21stBirthday photograph.
Sadly Dior died at the age of 52 from a heart attack whilst on a spa holiday in Italy.
This month’s VOGUE magazine features an article about the designer – see February 2019 issue page 88. Or visit our boutique in Prestbury to view our collection of Vintage Vogue Magazine that feature the brand in all its glory.
Here at Dress we have pieces Dior jewellery and clothing in stock, with items being presented for us to sell regularly.
Visit our website or call into our boutique to find out more.