Christian Dior
Overview
Christian Dior (21 January 1905, Granville, Manche
Granville, Manche
-Sights:The old town preserves all the history of its military and religious past. The lower town was partly built on land reclaimed from the sea. The upper part of the old town is surrounded by ramparts from the fifteenth century...

 – 23 October 1957, Montecatini
Montecatini
- Places in Italy :* Montecatini Terme, health resort in Tuscany* Montecatini Val di Cecina, village and mining town to the south of Pisa*Montecatini, hamlet in the comune of San Martino in Rio...

), was a French fashion designer, best known as the founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, also called Christian Dior
Christian Dior SA
Christian Dior S.A. is a French company which owns the high-fashion clothing producer and retailer Christian Dior Couture, as well as holding 42% of LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods firm. Both Dior and LVMH are controlled and chaired by businessman Bernard...

.
Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of France, the second of the five children of Maurice Dior, a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer (the family firm was Dior Frères), and his wife, the former Madeleine Martin.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Christian Dior (21 January 1905, Granville, Manche
Granville, Manche
-Sights:The old town preserves all the history of its military and religious past. The lower town was partly built on land reclaimed from the sea. The upper part of the old town is surrounded by ramparts from the fifteenth century...

 – 23 October 1957, Montecatini
Montecatini
- Places in Italy :* Montecatini Terme, health resort in Tuscany* Montecatini Val di Cecina, village and mining town to the south of Pisa*Montecatini, hamlet in the comune of San Martino in Rio...

), was a French fashion designer, best known as the founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, also called Christian Dior
Christian Dior SA
Christian Dior S.A. is a French company which owns the high-fashion clothing producer and retailer Christian Dior Couture, as well as holding 42% of LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods firm. Both Dior and LVMH are controlled and chaired by businessman Bernard...

.

Life

Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of France, the second of the five children of Maurice Dior, a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer (the family firm was Dior Frères), and his wife, the former Madeleine Martin. He had four siblings: Raymond (father of Françoise Dior
Françoise Dior
Marie Françoise Suzanne Dior, also known as Françoise de Caumont La Force, Françoise Dior-Jordan, and Françoise Dior-de Mirleau , was a French socialite and post-war Nazi underground financier...

), Jacqueline, Bernard, and Ginette (aka Catherine).

Christian's family had hopes he would become a diplomat, but Dior was artistic and wished to be involved in fashion. To make money, he sold his fashion sketches outside his house for about 10 cents each. In 1928 after leaving school he received money from his father to finance a small art gallery, where he and a friend sold art by the likes of Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

.

After a financial disaster that resulted in his father losing control of Dior Frères, Christian Dior was forced to close the gallery. From the 1930s to the 1940s he worked with fashion designer Robert Piguet until being called up for military service. In 1942, having left the Army, Dior joined the fashion house of Lucien Lelong
Lucien Lelong
Lucien Lelong was a French couturier who was prominent from the 1920s to the 1940s.-Career:Born in Paris as the son of Arthur Lelong, the owner of a textile shop, he trained at the Hautes Etudes de Commerciales in Paris and opened his fashion house in the late 1910s...

, where he and Pierre Balmain
Pierre Balmain
Pierre Alexandre Claudius Balmain was a French fashion designer. Known for sophistication and elegance, he once said that "dressmaking is the architecture of movement."...

 were the primary designers. For the duration of World War II, Christian Dior, as an employee of Lelong—who labored to preserve the French fashion industry during wartime for economic and artistic reasons—dressed the wives of the Nazi officers and French collaborators, as did other fashion houses that remained in business during the war, including Jean Patou
Jean Patou
- Early life :Patou was born in Normandy, France in 1880. Patou's family's business was tanning and furs. Patou worked with his uncle in Normandy, then moved to Paris in 1910, intent on becoming a couturier.-1910s - World War I and later:...

, Jeanne Lanvin
Jeanne Lanvin
Jeanne-Marie Lanvin was a French fashion designer and the founder of the Lanvin fashion house.One of the most influential designers of the 1920s and '30s, Jeanne Lanvin's skillful use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a...

, and Nina Ricci
Nina Ricci (brand)
Nina Ricci is a fashion house founded by Maria "Nina" Ricci and her son Robert in Paris in 1932, and owned by the Spanish beauty and fashion group Puig since 1998. Nina Ricci designed gowns while Robert managed the business and finances. She worked with the fabrics directly on the mannequin to...

. While her brother dressed Nazi wives, Dior's sister Catherine (1917—2008) served as a member of the French Resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

, was captured by the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

, and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück ....

; she was liberated in May 1945.

On 16 December 1946 Dior founded his fashion house, backed by Marcel Boussac
Marcel Boussac
Marcel Boussac was a French entrepreneur best known for his ownership of the Maison Dior and one of the most successful thoroughbred race horse breeding farms in European history....

, a cotton-fabric magnate. The actual name of the line of his first collection, presented in early 1947, was Corolle (literally the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English), but the phrase New Look was coined for it by Carmel Snow
Carmel Snow
Carmel Snow was the influential editor of the American edition of Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958 and, after her retirement, the chairman of the magazine's editorial board.-Family:...

, the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar. Dior's designs were more voluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric. He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes; Dior is quoted as saying "I have designed flower women." His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale
Percale
Percale or Percalcos is a closely woven plain-weave fabric often used for bed covers.The term describes the weave of the fabric, not its content, so percale could be a blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, 100% cotton, or a blend of other fabrics in any ratio...

, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form.

Initially, women protested because his designs covered up their legs, which they had been unused to because of the previous limitations on fabric. There was also some backlash to Dior's designs due to the amount of fabrics used in a single dress or suit. During one photo shoot in a Paris market, the models were attacked by female vendors over this profligacy, but opposition ceased as the wartime shortages ended. The "New Look" (a name given it by American fashion-magazine editor Carmel Snow
Carmel Snow
Carmel Snow was the influential editor of the American edition of Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958 and, after her retirement, the chairman of the magazine's editorial board.-Family:...

) revolutionized women's dress and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion world after World War II.

Death

Dior died while on holiday in Montecatini
Montecatini
- Places in Italy :* Montecatini Terme, health resort in Tuscany* Montecatini Val di Cecina, village and mining town to the south of Pisa*Montecatini, hamlet in the comune of San Martino in Rio...

, Italy on 23 October 1957. Some reports say that he died of a heart attack after choking on a fish bone. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

s obituary stated that he died of a heart attack after playing a game of cards. However, the Paris socialite and Dior acquaintance Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Rédé, stated in his memoirs that contemporary rumor had it that the fashion designer succumbed to a heart attack after a strenuous sexual encounter. Some even think that he died because of a seizure. To this day, no one knows for sure.

Tributes

The Paul Gallico
Paul Gallico
Paul William Gallico was a successful American novelist, short story and sports writer. Many of his works were adapted for motion pictures...

 novella Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris
Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris is the title of a Paul Gallico novel originally published in 1958. In the United Kingdom, it was published as Flowers for Mrs Harris...

 (1958, UK title Flowers for Mrs Harris) tells the story of a London charlady
Charlady
A charlady, char or charwoman was an English house cleaner. The term has the same roots as "chore woman," one hired to do odd chores around the house. A char or chare was a turn in the sixteenth century, and which gave rise to prefix being used to denote people that worked in domestic situations...

 who falls in love with her employer's couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

 wardrobe and decides to go to Paris to purchase herself a Dior ballgown.

A perfume named Christian Dior is used in Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature...

's novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as an influential symbol placed at critical plot points throughout.

The English singer-songwriter Morrissey
Morrissey
Steven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...

 released a song titled "Christian Dior" as a b-side to his 2006 single "In the Future When All's Well
In the Future When All's Well
"In the Future When All's Well" was the third single from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey. It was added to XFM London's playlist on 18 August 2006. It also made BBC Radio 2's C-List and BBC 6 Music's A-List. The single was released internationally on 21 August 2006...

".

American Rapper/Producer Kanye West released a song titled "Christian Dior Denim Flow" as a 2010 Fashion Week single.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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