Christian Dior

Christian Dior

Christian Dior: (1905-1957) was born in Normandy, France. At his parents' insistence, he studied political science. After military service and several years of indecision, he returned to Paris in 1935 and began his design career by selling sketches. His hat designs were initially more successful than his dress designs. But he concentrated on his dress designs and was hired by Robert Piguet in 1938. During the war, he served in the South of France, then returned again to Paris in 1941 and worked for Lucien Lelong, a much larger design house. In 1946, he was able to open his own house, backed by textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac.

For his first collection in 1947, he created the extremely popular "New Look", which featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a very full skirt. Dior created an opulent clothing style which contrasted the severe living conditions of post-war France. After the war, he helped to re-establish Paris as the capital of world-fashion . Dior became the last great dictator of style in the 1950s. Each collection throughout this period had a theme - classic suits, ballerina-length skirts, the H-line in 1954, and A- and Y-lines in 1955.

Together with his partner Jaques Rouet, Dior was the pioneer for license agreements in the fashion business. Already in 1948, he decided to arrange licensed production of furs, socks, ties, perfumes, and clothing in regionally seperate production centers. Thus spreading the brand name quickly around the globe.

In 1953, he hired Yves Saint Laurent as an assistant. After Dior's sudden death in October 1957 in Italy, Saint Laurent became head designer and introduced the trapeze dress in his first collection for the house.