THE NEW LOOK: CHRISTIAN DIOR’S RESPONSE TO WARThe story of the luxury maison par excellence began after World War II, in a hungry-for-revenge Paris. People had a strong desire for freedom and beauty. They wanted "new", and to leave behind all the ugliness of a very dark period.
Christian Dior gave a sartorial response to these needs. In February 1947, he presented his collection to the press bringing brand new silhouettes on the catwalk: rounded shoulders, fluid lines, corolla skirt, and the timeless Bar jacket, still today a central element of the Dior wardrobe.
The New Look (named this way by Carmel Snow, then editor of Harper’s Bazaar) was born, redefining the shapes and dimensions of the female body. Vintage, and more in general fashion history, will always pay homage to the designer who, collection after collection, gave a new meaning to the concept of luxury.
MAISON DIOR, FROM ART TO AVENUE MONTAIGNE
Christian Dior was born on the 21st of January 1905 in Granville, France. An art enthusiast, in 1928 he opened his gallery which soon became one of the most quoted in the French capital, with exhibitions from Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso.
Dior opened his fashion house at 30 Avenue Montaigne when he was already 41 years old, out of financial necessity rather than by choice but with a considerable knowledge of the world on his side. His garments are elegant, sumptuous and made with fine fabrics. In his collections there are neither poverty nor the gloomy tones of the war years, rationing and hunger disappear, replaced by beauty and opulence.
Dior sculpts the female body, enhancing its curves and paying homage to the art of seducing: "When a woman dresses well, she knows that men consider her just as attractive as if she were wearing nothing". The designer is responsible for the invention of the H-line that unifies the breast to the body line, for the tulip-shape that enhances the bosom, for the Sixties A-line, for the wide skirts, for the narrow shoulders, and for the flattering oblique cut.
CHRISTIAN DIOR DESIGNER OF THE STARS
Christian Dior was inspired by architecture, by flowers, by colors and, above all, by art, which the brand still celebrates today through several collaborations with both established and emerging artists.
But mostly he was inspired by women, whom he considered "the most beautiful flowers". He dressed Marlene Dietriche, Liz Taylor and, famously, Grace Kelly. He designed the dress for the future queen of Iran, Soraya, when in 1951 she married Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, last Shah of Persia. Lauren Bacall was in Christian Dior Haute Couture in 1952, for the Oscar night with Humphrey Bogart.
Today, it is actresses such as Charleze Theron, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lawrence who dress Dior. The legacy of the house, preserved after Dior's death by various artistic directors including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons, is defined above all by its couture - sculptural clothes and love for beauty.
Since 2016, Maria Grazie Chiuri has been running the brand, the first woman after a long line of men. Even today, Dior stands for absolute luxury.