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Christian Dior Biography / Creando Divas

Christian Dior was a French couturier, best known for his eponymous fashion house which is often referred to as just Dior. / Modisto francés. Tras la quiebra de la empresa familiar, se convirtió en dibujante de modas para Agnès y Schiaparelli, de donde pasó a trabajar como diseñador de modelos en la casa Piguet.


Born in the seaside town of Granville on the coast of Normandy in 1905, he was the son of a wealthy fertiliser manufacturer and was one of five children. Aged five, he moved with his family to Paris.

Although his parents had hopes of him becoming a diplomat, Dior was artistically inclined and began to sell his sketches on the street to make pocket money. Upon leaving school, Dior took over a small art gallery which his father bought for him, where he and a friend sold work by artists including Pablo Picasso.

Following the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, the death of both his mother and his brother, and the collapse of his father’s business, Dior was forced to close his art gallery. He then went to work with fashion designer Robert Piguet until he was called up for military service in 1940.

At the end of his service in 1942, he began working for couturier Lucien Long, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers. During the war, Lelong – like other French ateliers including Jeanne Lanvin and Nina Ricci – dressed the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators as a way of preserving the fashion industry throughout the conflict for both economic and artistic reasons.

At the same time, Dior’s younger sister Catherine joined the French Resistance, resulting in her capture by the Gestapo and subsequent imprisonment at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived and was liberated in 1945. In 1947, Dior named his debut fragrance Miss Dior as a tribute to her.

He founded the house of Christian Dior on December 16, 1946 at 30 Avenue Montaigne Paris, backed by Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate. Officially, the house of Dior considers 1947 to be the year of conception as that is when Dior showed his first collection.christian-dior

On February 12, 1947, Dior showed his debut collection, presenting the 90 different looks. Named «Corolle» and «Huit», the lines were quickly christened the «New Look», a phrase coined by US Harper’s Bazaar  magazine editor Carmel Snow. The look consisted of a calf-length, full skirt, a cinched waist and fuller bust than had been seen since the turn of the century. A rebuttal to post-war fabric restrictions – the average dress used 20 yards of fabric – the look received some criticism upon release. The opulence of his designs contrasted with the grim post-war reality of Europe, and helped re-establish Paris as the joyful fashion capital it had once been.

The house was inundated with orders and world-famous stars such as Rita Hayworth and Margot Fonteyn bought and wore pieces, raising Dior’s profile significantly. Dior was even invited to stage a private presentation of the collection for the British royal family – although King George V reportedly forbade the young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, from wearing the New Look in case it set a bad example at a time when rationing was still in force.vida-christian-dior-L-xiqrQW

He was known to be very superstitious, a quality which increased with age. Each collection included a coat named after his place of birth, Granville; in each show at least one model wore a bunch of his favourite flower, lily of the valley; and he never began a couture show without having consulted his tarot card reader.

Dior established a luxury ready-to-wear house on the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street in New York in November 1948. It was the first of its kind. In the same year, he launched Dior Parfums – with Miss Dior being the first fragrance to launch, and Diorama launching the following year.

In 1949, Dior was the first couturier to arrange licensed production of his designs. Having realised the importance of the complete look – and that the New Look could not be successfully achieved without the correct Dior shoes, gloves and hat – Dior, together with business partner Jacques Rouët, licensed his name to a range of luxury accessories. Furs, stockings, ties and perfume were also manufactured in regional centres across the world, spreading his brand name quickly around the globe. Although this move was heavily criticised by the French Chamber of Couture – who denounced the move as cheapening the haute couture industry – licensing became a profitable move for Dior and the atelier’s lesson was followed by nearly all of the period’s fashion houses.

265895710In 1955, the 19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s design assistant. Christian Dior later met with Yves Saint Laurent’s mother, Lucienne Mathieu-Saint Laurent, in 1957 to tell her that he had chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him at Dior. She said at the time she had been confused by the remark, as Dior was only 52 at the time.Shortly after his meeting with Saint

Laurent’s mother, Christian Dior suffered a fatal heart attack on October 24, 1957, leaving the house in disarray. Some 2,500 people attended his funeral, including all of his staff and famous clients led by the Duchess of Windsor. In an attempt to stabilise the label, Jacques Rouët appointed the then-21-year-old Yves Saint-Laurent as artistic director.

Saint Laurent remained in the position until he was conscripted into the army, during which time he was dismissed from Dior by Rouët and replaced by Marc Bohan. Bohan proved very successful as Saint Laurent’s replacement, defining a new era and new silhouette for Dior, the Slim Look, a more modern and svelte version of Dior’s iconic shape.

In 1978, the Boussac Group filed for bankruptcy and its assets, including Dior, were sold to the Willot Group. After it went into administration, Bernard Arnault and his investment group purchased the Willot Group’s holdings for «one symbolic franc» in 1994. On assuming power, Arnault drastically altered Dior’s operations. In 1985, Arnault became chairman, CEO and managing director of Christian Dior. He repositioned it as the  holding company Christian Dior S.A and in 1988, took a 32 per cent equity stake into the share capital of LVMH  creating one of the leading and most influential  luxury goods conglomerates in the world, whilst Christian Dior remains to stand alone as a megabrand in it’s own right.

Gianfranco Ferre was made stylistic director of Christian Dior in 1989, replacing Marc Bohan. He remained in this position until 1997.

cdior-06_v_5apr12_getty_b_426x639In 1997, Arnault appointed British designer John Galliano to replace Marc Bohan at the creative helm. «Galliano has a creative talent very close to that of Christian Dior. He has the same extraordinary mixture of romanticism, feminism and modernity that symbolised Monsieur Dior. In all of his creations – his suits, his  dresses – one finds similarities to the Dior style,» said Arnault of Galliano.

Galliano was creative director of Christian Dior until March 2011, when he was dismissed after being filmed slurring anti-Semitic remarks and allegedly assaulting a member of the public whilst heavily intoxicated in a Paris bar. Galliano’s former-design director Bill Gayten headed up the house until April 9 2012 when it was announced, after more than a year of rumour and speculation, that Raf Simons had taken over as ‘artistic director’ at the house.

Christian Dior Biografia Creando Divas

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(Granville, Francia, 1905 – Montecatini, Italia, 1957) Modisto francés. Tras la quiebra de la empresa familiar, se convirtió en dibujante de modas para Agnès y Schiaparelli, de donde pasó a trabajar como diseñador de modelos en la casa Piguet. En 1946 fundó su propia firma de alta costura, que llevaba su nombre y que tenía su sede en París. Fue así como lanzó la moda que sería bautizada como New Look, vestidos de hombros estrechos y faldas hasta media pierna. Un año más tarde abrió una sucursal en Nueva York, lo que da prueba de su fulgurante éxito en el mundo de la moda, que le permitió consolidar su casa como una de las más prestigiosas de los últimos tiempos. A su muerte, con salones en veinticuatro países, continuaron con su firma primero Yves Saint-Laurent y luego Marc Bohan, que supieron mantener la reputación del apellido.

La llamada alta costura había nacido en los tiempos en que las señoras se cambiaban de vestido varias veces al día, dependiendo de la hora. Era una moda de alta calidad en cuanto al diseño y a la producción. La Cámara Sindical de la Alta Costura había sido fundada en 1868 como un sindicato de modistas para impedir que sus diseños fueran plagiados. El diseñador creaba los modelos a partir de una tela hecha de lino o muselina que llevaba su firma. A finales de la década de 1950, muchas de las casas de alta costura habían cerrado ante el avance del más barato prêt-à-porter. El modisto francés Christian Dior fue el más prestigioso diseñador de esta última etapa de la alta costura. Sus líneas elegantes y escultóricas influirían en las mujeres y en los diseñadores durante décadas.


Dior dejó sus estudios de ciencias políticas por los de música, aunque en realidad se dedicó a viajar y a dirigir una galería de arte. En 1931, su madre murió de cáncer y la empresa familiar que heredó fue declarada en bancarrota. Dior tuvo además que abandonar la galería de arte al contraer tuberculosis. Tras vivir de la hospitalidad de los amigos durante un tiempo, comenzó a vender bocetos con sus propios diseños a periódicos y revistas.

A partir de estos principios trabajó con varios diseñadores hasta que en 1946, gracias a la ayuda de Marcel Boussac, magnate del algodón, pudo abrir su propia casa de alta costura en París. En 1947 lanzó su primera colección, la línea Corolle. Tras la depresión que había traído consigo la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Christian Dior supo interpretar hábilmente en su ropa las necesidades de recuperación y optimismo de la sociedad, dando a la moda un nuevo impulso y definiendo la estética de los 50. El contraste que Dior introdujo con sus lujosos diseños causó sensación. Sus trajes se amoldaban a la figura femenina, exagerándola: faldas a media pierna acampanadas y voluminosas, de muchísimo vuelo, con forros de tul que llegaban a necesitar más de veinte metros de tela, surgían de ceñidos y rígidos cuerpos que resaltaban el busto y minimizaban la cintura. Estos modelos se complementaban con sombreros ladeados, gargantillas y zapatos de tacón de aguja. Su propuesta era un estilo absolutamente glamoroso y femenino.

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Esta tendencia fue bautizada por la prensa con el nombre de New Look, y aceptada rápidamente por mujeres americanas y europeas, deseosas de renovar su estricto guardarropa heredado de los años cuarenta. Aunque cabría tener en cuenta a otros genios de la costura, como Jacques Fath o Hubert de Givenchy, la aportación oportunísima del New Look de Dior convirtió a este modisto en un diseñador clave para comprender el proceso seguido por la moda en el transcurso del siglo XX. La recuperación económica de los años cincuenta y el consecuente entusiasmo generalizado se tradujo, en moda, en una fiebre de consumismo, un derroche de creatividad y glamour y en una auténtica edad de oro en todas sus manifestaciones.

Aunque el New Look fascinó a muchas mujeres, también es cierto que otras criticaron el extravagante uso de los materiales y la artificialidad que lo caracterizaban. A las puertas de la Casa Dior se vieron piquetes de mujeres indignadas, aunque estas manifestaciones sólo consiguieron darle más publicidad. El modisto murió a los 52 años, pero la Casa Dior siguió adelante con otros grandes diseñadores, como Yves Saint-Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré y John Galliano. El nombre de Dior se encuentra también en cosméticos, perfumes, joyería o artículos domésticos.

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