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Christian Dior's New Look

Updated on July 8, 2012

Christian Dior ---French Fashion Designer

A French fashion designer, Christian Dior is known best as the founder of one of the top fashion houses in the world with the same name. Born on the twenty-first of January in 1905, Dior was born in a Normandy seaside town called Granville.

He was the 2nd of 5 children of a wealthy manufacturer of fertilizer named Maurice Dior. Dior Freres was the name of the family's firm. The former Isabelle Cardamone was his mother. He had 4 siblings including Ginette (Catherine), Bernard, Jacqueline and Raymond.

Christian's family moved to Paris when he was about five years old but on summer vacations did return to Normandy. The family of Dior had hoped that he would be a diplomat but Dior preferred to express his artistic talents through fashion creations.

To generate income, he sold sketches of fashion outside his home for approximately ten cents each. In the year nineteen twenty-eight, Dior had received money from his father and left school to begin a small gallery for art where he and a partner sold artwork by artists including Pablo Picasso.

A few years later, after a business disaster and the death of his brother and mother in the Great Depression, Dior's father had lost Dior Freres' control and their art gallery needed to be closed. At this point until the year nineteen forty, Dior had worked with Robert Piguet fashion designer when he was called to serve the military.

In the year nineteen forty-two, Dior joined the Lucien Lelong house after leaving the army where he was a primary designer along with Pierre Balmain. Dior thus worked as a Lelon employee for the duration of WWII. Lelong was working to preserve the fashion industry of France for artistic and economic reasons during wartime.

For the wives of French Collaborators and Nazi officers, he designed dresses along with other houses of fashion that stayed in business in this war. These designers included Nina Ricci, Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Patou. While Nazi wives were being dresses by Dior, Catherine his sister was serving as a French resistance member, sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp after getting captured by the Gestapo and this is where she remained after getting freed in May of nineteen forty-five.

In the year nineteen forty six, backed by cotton fabric magnate Marcel Boussac, Christian Dior founded his house of fashion. "Corolle" was the actual name of his 1st collection which was presented in the year nineteen forty-seven. In English, "Corolle" was the literal botanical term for "circle of floral petals.

Harper's Bazaar editor in chief Carmel Snow, however, had coined the phrase "New Look" for the designs of Dior which were more comparably voluptuous than the fabric-conserving, boxy shapes of the styles of WWII, influenced by fabric rations.

Dior was a master at creating silhouettes and shapes and has been heard to say that he was a designer of "flower women."

Predominantly, his look used percale-lined fabrics, petticoats, wasp-waisted corsets, hip padding, bodices that were bustier-style and boning. This caused models to have a form that was very curvaceous as the dresses flared out from the waistline.

In the beginning, women made protests against his designs as these covered their legs. The women were not used to this due to the previous fabric limitations. Due to the fabric amounts used for one suit or on dress, there was also some backlash to the designs of Dior.

In one Paris market photo shoot, female vendors attacked models for the profligacy but as the shortages of war ended, the opposition ceased as well. This "New Look" caused a revolution in dresses of women and resulted in Paris being the fashion world center after WWII.


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    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 3 years ago from Scandinavia

      i am not sure I am the Rights person to ask. Much love Ellinor

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      Manuela 3 years ago

      My fiance and I are in the bgneining stages of planning a wedding and are researching weddings as a destination. I would love to hear more information regarding availability and pricing for 2013-2014. We will be traveling from the United States, and would most likely be traveling with about 25-35 people. We were hoping to have just a more casual, intimate space for those closest to us at an affordable cost. Thanks!

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      Martin 3 years ago

      Greetings Claire!I am interested in leinanrg more information about this venue (or any other) near Eiffel Tower, primarily the the rental cost. It would be for our intimate wedding reception (potentially ceremony too if the space is right). Our head count for 20-30 guests, plus ourselves, for a Summer wedding perspectively on Monday, July 1st of 2013. Any additional information and photos would be greatly appreciate.Many thanks!Liz

    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 5 years ago from Scandinavia


    • TheKemist profile image

      TheKemist 5 years ago

      j'adore dior

    • Bredavies profile image

      Bredavies 5 years ago

      I adore dior. great hub