How Dior defined the new look of fashion
Inside Fashion Houses: Dior
12 February 1947, Paris. With Europe still being rebuild after five years of devastating war, Christian Dior launches his very first collection named Corolle. This name, meaning flower wreath, is perhaps a small nod to his father’s terminated family business of fertilizer. Dior comes from a wealthy family in Normandy, which lost a big part of its wealth, due to the great depression and World War II. Despite the efforts of his father to pursue him otherwise, Christian Dior chooses for art and fashion. A choice that would eventually change fashion forever.
Back to 12 February 1947. As said, Dior launches his first collection after having worked for a few other French houses during the early 1940s (alongside Pierre Balmain). His first collection would consist out of 90 pieces in a way that had never been done before. Dior did not start with fabrics, he started with bodies. He altered his own Stockmann mannequin with a hammer to create the perfect body silhouette. It became the basis for his iconic Bar Jacket and the rest of his collection with pieces that emphasize the female curves. American Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow named it The New Look and Dior’s star was born.
The Designer of Dreams quickly became a household name in the fashion industry. By the end of 1949, Dior alone made up 5% of France’s total export revenue. 70 years after his first collection, Dior is a worldwide enterprise, still creating haute couture next to its various lines of cosmetics, perfumes, ready to wear men and women clothing, and luxury accessories.
‘ A New Look that would change fashion forever. ’
‘ A New Look that would change fashion forever. ’
Christian Dior died a sudden death in 1957, due to a heart attack of mysterious causes. Theories vary from choking on a fishbone, to losing a game of cards, succumbing in a health spa, and even a strenuous sexual encounter.
Whatever the cause of his death was, the house of Dior lived on with many great successors in his chair. As if he had foreseen his nearing death, Dior already appointed his protege Yves Saint-Laurent as his successor. Saint-Laurent would be the creative director for the brand for three years, before being called up to the army in 1960.
YSL was replaced by Marc Bohan, who was the head of design for nearly thirty years. Bohan brought looks to the catwalk that were in line with the philosophy of his predecessors: sophisticated, classic, feminine, luxurious. Bohan further developed the house as a multi-disciplined brand with more ready-to-wear, an extensive cosmetics line, iconic perfurmes, a children’s line, and the first collection of Dior Homme in 1970.
Despite these various business endeavours, Dior’s mother company, the Boussac Group, couldn’t keep its head above water. When two years later, in 1981, Dior’s new owner Willot Group also went bankrupt, it was finally purchased by Bernard Arnault for one symbolic Franc. Arnault would eventually, thanks to the various companies he owns in his LVMH-group, become the richest person in Europe. Not the least because of his successful enterprises with Dior.
Although Dior has always been one of the more classic-oriented fashion brands, associated with glamour and elegance, the last two decades meant finding a new course for the brand. Namely, John Galliano and Raf Simons have maintained Dior’s contemporary relevance with their stints between 1997-2011 and 2012-2015, respectively. During their tenures, Italian photographer Paolo Roversi became the main translator of their style with his dreamy and delicate photography. Meanwhile, Dior Homme has become one of the biggest brands in men’s fashion thanks to its directors Hedi Slimane and Kris van Assche.
Fast forward to 2018. Over 70 years of Christian Dior heritage is being protected by creative director Maria Churi (the first woman in Dior’s history) and Kim Jones who was recently appointed as Dior Homme’s creative director. With a revenue of €41.6 billion, Dior is one of the biggest fashion brands today, with three sublabels and over 200 stores in every continent.
It all started with that one collection. A new look that became a sketch for the rest of its history. “A New Look” that would change fashion forever.
With the greatest names in fashion all under one roof, you could consider MENDO the house of all houses. In every episode we highlight one of the biggest names in…
With the greatest names in fashion all under one roof, MENDO pretty much is the house of all houses. In the series 'Inside Fashion Houses' we highlight the biggest names…
We consider ourselves to be pretty fashionable at times. And most of that is due to our extensive browsing through the fashion books we have. Here are six titles you…
ZENOLOGY developed ‘Libri’: a unique Ambiance Trigger fragrance made together with MENDO. ZENOLOGY Founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen and In-house Perfumer Fredrik Dalman elaborate on what it takes to create a…
This month we launched yet another passion project. One we’re really excited about: Sportret, a hommage to sports photographed by internationally renowned photo journalist Klaas Jan van der Weij.
After receiving a handful of awards in April 2017, MENDO's webshop is now in the running to become Site Of The Year at Awwwards.
Our Sleeping In Style competition has come to an end and we're delighted to announce the 9 fortunate winners.
In our series Shelf Sessions we climb the shelves of MENDO’s friends. In this episode: Jason Denham, Creative Director and Founder at DENHAM.
Lauren Greenfield spent 25 years documenting wealth and now her highly anticipated book has been published: Generation Wealth.
An eye-catching new building rises along the banks of the IJ-river. MENDO is very proud to design and publish a book about it.