Tabulous Tastemaker: Christian Dior

January 21, 2015

By Tab Byrum

Today we are celebrating a Tabulous Tastemaker from the world of fashion, Christian Dior, today would have been Dior’s 110th birthday.  

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Christian Dior was born January 21, 1905 in the French seaside town of Granville in the Normandy region of France, one of five children, Christian’s family was well off due to the success of his grandfather’s fertilizer and chemical factories.

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Dior’s childhood home in Normandy today houses a museum honoring the designer, the pink and grey color of the house was always a favorite color scheme in Dior’s designs.  

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Dior was always artistic, drawing and sketching, and although his family hoped he would become a diplomat he knew he wanted to be involved in artistic creation.  Dior got his start in the world of business selling paintings and was always known for his “eye for art”.  In 1938 Dior became a pattern designer for the French fashion designer Robert Piguet, at Piguet’s studio Dior worked alongside future designer Pierre Balmain.  Piguet is also remembered for giving a start to great designer Hubert de Givenchy.  Dior stayed at Piguet’s design house until he was called up to military service during WWII.  

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Christian Dior was a late bloomer in the world of fashion, he founded his own fashion house in 1946 with his first collection being shown in February 1947, Dior was 42 years old.  His “new look” collection was well received and caused a stir in the world of fashion, particularly due to the longer lengths of the skirts he was designing.

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Following WWII fabric was hard to come by, especially in Europe, and Dior’s longer skirts required 30cm more fabric.  The outcry was loud, but Dior stuck with his design and soon it was everywhere.  Dior came to America and introduced his creations and they were hits here as well, Christian Dior was a smashing success.

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By 1954 The House of Dior was 7 years old, in Paris the business occupied 5 buildings, had 28 workshops and employed more than a thousand people to make it all happen.  

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Dior And Models

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Sadly in 1957 Dior died of a heart attack while on holiday in Italy, he was 52 years old.  The House of Dior continues to thrive today as a leader on the world fashion scene, with Raf Simons coming on board in 2012, being only the 6th designer to head the firm. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of Pinterest.

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