Christian Dior is known for introducing the “New Look” of women’s fashion in 1947. Dior’s collections feature very full skirts, rounded shoulders, and tight fitted waists. These highly feminized looks celebrated womanhood and the uniqueness of women’s fashion at that time. Christian Dior’s collection offered an alternative to the boyish and uniform look that was made popular by Coco Chanel. The “New Look” was not just about clothing or fashion, but a new outlook on life and an expression of femininity.
Christian Dior was born in Normandy, France, moved to Paris during his childhood and eventually studied political science, and served in the French military before focusing on his career in the fashion industry. In 1935, Dior started selling sketches on Paris streets. Finally, in 1938, Dior was hired by a respected designer, Robert Piguet. His fashion career was again put on hold during World War II, when he served in the French military forces. After returning to the fashion scene in 1941, Dior began working with Lucien Lelong. After working for five years with Lelong, Dior opened his own fashion house in 1946, with the help of textile manufacturer, Marcel Boussac.
Dior’s fashion house helped to reaffirm Paris as the center of the fashion world and rocked the fashion community with his alternative style; before Dior burst onto the scene Chanel was the biggest name in fashion. Chanel’s collections were much less feminine, but were celebrated for their versatile and ready-to-wear styles; Dior’s fashions offered a stark contrast to the popular Chanel fashions. Each collection was carefully attended to by Dior and was given a theme. One of Dior’s most successful collections was called “Figure 8”. The silhouettes in this specific collection featured small waists, broad shoulders, and accentuated hips. This style set the tone for cutting-edge fashion and celebrated the natural curves and proportions of the female body.
A second well received collection was referred to as “A-line”, because the silhouette of the collections featured a smooth waist and widened over the hips and legs, creating a shape similar to that of a capital “A” This style is still a popular today because of it’s versatility and its figure-flattering shape on a wide range of body types. Some of Dior’s later collections experimented with more modern elements, including Indian inspired wraps, long and slender silhouettes, and narrow tunics. He also incorporated historical elements into his collections and added a collection of menswear.
Dior collaborated with Jacque Rouet, and together they established many lucrative licensing agreements in the fashion business. By 1948, Dior and Rouet had acquired deals for fragrances, furs, and stockings. His wide range of products and collections helped to make Dior a household name throughout Europe and the United States. After designing under the Dior name for only ten years, Christian Dior left an imprint on the fashion world. After Dior died of a heart attack at the age of 52, The House of Dior was devastated, but the empire continues to grow and play a leading role in fashion forward thinking.
Fashion Director Christian Dior – A detailed account of Dior’s life and works.
The History of the Dior Company – An in-depth report on the Dior Company.
The “New Look” Review – A look at Dior’s “New Look”.
Women’s Clothing and Fashion – Learn about 1950’s style and women’s fashion; this was optimized by Dior.
Christian Dior – A detailed biography of the life and contributions of Christian Dior.
Dior Biography & Samples – A collection of samples of from Christian Dior’s collections and brief biographical information about the designer.
Dior’s New Look – Dior’s “New Look” was a very unique look in the 1940s and 50s.
Inside Dior’s “New Look” – Discover the driving force behind Dior’s collections and his hopes for the Dior brand.
Dior and the “New Look” – Learn more about the Dior Empire and the man behind the “New Look”.
Dior – The official website of Dior.