Christian Dior The Dior Couture fashion house was founded in 1946 by the French designer Christian Dior. Dior was the most influential designer in the 1950’s and held his first couture fashion show on 12th February 1947. The collection consisted of a range of luxurious clothes, soft shoulders, narrow waists and full flowing skirts. This was to be named the New Look. (Fig 1) ‘The New Look’ 1950’s The New Look was a new concept on life for the post-war era. Dior was correct to assume people wanted change after the deprivations caused by the war.
Before the new look, women had to ‘make do and mend’ with the materials that were available; fashion consisted of square shoulders and straight knee length skirts because of wartime restrictions. The New Look was a return to the traditional concept of femininity and glamour. After women had been limited to little availability of materials during the war time, they were now able to buy fabrics such as silk and cotton. (fig 2) ‘Make do and mend’ 1940’s war time fashion Dior’s couture house was overcome by orders from all around the world as the New Look became a global success.
Dior had revived the fashion in Paris for the greater good and presented the new look in places such as America and to the British Royal Family in London. He was then guaranteed success and recognized as having shown a true work of excellence. Throughout the 1950s, Christian Dior was the biggest and best-run haute couture house in Paris. Christian Dior produced more fashion collections between 1954 and1957 which proved to be very successful, yet none of these were as acclaimed as the New Look. As the most famous couture house in the 1950s, Dior attracted a lot of talented assistants.
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One was Pierre Cardin; an Italian born tailor who showed a lot of potential and strive for fashion before leaving in the late 1940’s to start his own business. Another designer that worked closely with Dior was his young assistant Yves Saint Laurent. After joining the company of Dior in 1955, Yves Saint Laurent flourished and expressed his love for fashion which was noticed when he contributed thirty five outfits for the autumn 1957 collection. In 1947 the Dior Company was to launch its first perfume, called Miss Dior, the perfume was a big success!
From 1947 until 1950, a Christian Dior perfume branch was established and a new ready-to-wear house was also founded in New York at the corner of Fifth Avenue. In 1949, the new look line made a profit of 12. 7 million francs. Dior died suddenly 1957, which left the company deciding whether to close the fashion house or not, but the company decided against this due to financial stability and wanted to revive the company to what it was before. (Young designer) Yves Saint Laurent was to become head designer for the fashion house.
Yves Saint Laurent created an outstanding collection in just nine weeks. Yves Saint Laurent was only 21 at the time; Laurent still kept Dior’s style the same but decided to use softer fabrics making them easier and more realistic to wear. Yves Saint Laurent took an opportunity to express his own ideas, no longer taking influence from Dior’s designs. Saint Laurent was designing for Dior in a time of a more youthful era and captured this in his designs for Dior. Yves Saint Laurent expressed a vibrant theme and conveyed a balance of admiration and outrage.
In 1960 Yves Saint Laurent designed The ‘Beat Look’ for Dior, this collection was unsuccessful. The collection consisted of high pullovers, knitted caps, leather suits and coats. This was too radical for the fashion world. In 1960 Saint Laurent was ordered to serve in the French Army, during this time the owner of the House of Dior decided he would be replaced. ( fig 3) ‘The beat look’ Yves Saint Laurent 1960 Marc Bohan replaced Yves Saint Laurent between 1960- 1989. Marc Bohan brought a new outlook to the house of Dior by rejecting contemporary fashion; he took inspiration from Christian Dior’s 1920s designs.
He was publicly praised by Rebecca Arnold as the man who kept the Dior label "at the forefront of fashion while still producing wearable, elegant clothes. " In January 1961, Bohan released a collection, which consisted of waistlines dropped; flared skirts embellished with fur stoles and also incorporated Dior’s traditional beading and embroidery. Bohan attracted a lot of famous social figures to his collection such as the actress Elizabeth Taylor who ordered twelve dresses from the spring-summer 1961 collection featuring the “ slim look” ( fig 4) Mark Bohan ‘ the slim look’ for Christian Dior 1960’s ttp://blog. fidmmuseum. org/. a/6a01156f47abbe970c0168e56ae3ad970c-800wiSaint Laurent’s designs where very different from Marc Bohans. Bohan had different aspirations and ideas than Saint Laurent, as he wanted to take the company back to its original house style whereas Yves Saint Laurent wanted to voice his own ideas and not taking inspiration from what Dior actually wanted. In 1989 Bohan left Dior, before joining for the house of Norman Hartnell in London, where he worked for the label until 1992.
Bohan has since designed under his own name. ( fig 5) Chrisitan Dior by Gianfranco Ferre- Fall 1989 Couture In 1989 Gianfranco Ferre decided to agree he would become head designer for Dior. His first haute couture collection was shown In July 1989, just two http://media-cache-ec2. pinterest. com/upload/44191640064762754_fdMj30cl_b. jpgmonths after Ferre’s arrival at Dior. Some people saw his move to the French fashion house outrageous because he was not French and where undecided if he could prove himself as a success at Dior.
It turned out that Ferre proved everyone wrong and his designs became known all over the world. Ferre had a deep understanding of fashion history and that was shown in his work. He was very careful when designing for Dior, making sure it was what Christian Dior would have wanted, he showed a lot of similar attributes to Dior himself such as a caring attitude, attention to detail and a passion for all things luxurious, elegant and beautiful (fig 5) Eva Peron wearing a Dior Dress- 1950. fig 6) 195 S/S 2010 floral collection By Galliano by Dior (fig 7) http://upload. wikimedia. org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/29/Evita_Dior. jpg/200px-Evita_Dior. jpg Gianfranco Ferre inspiration at Dior was Eva Peron who was also one of Christian Dior’s original customers. Eva Peron was the first lady of Argentina to wear a dress by Dior in the 1950s. She and Dior both adored each other. http://www. wearefreshfish. com/blogg/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/00210m. pgAnna Wintour and CEO Arnault (editor in chief of Vogue) made a conscious decision to appoint British designer John Galliano to replace Gianfranco Ferre in 1997. This once again caused controversy in France because Galliano was not a French designer. Arnault once quoted “talent has no nationality” and he even compared Galliano to Christian Dior himself. Galliano showed creativity beyond any other designer and a talent very close to Dior. He created a mixture of excitement, romance and femininity - a few things Dior honoured the most.
Galliano showed raw talent and whilst at Dior he brought the company to life with his use of colours, texture and creativity which no other designer had shown at Dior. He was praised by many for his unique ability, which was different to any other designer at Dior. Galliano wanted to bring life to the house of Dior with his flamboyant nature. Whilst other designers wanted to refer back to old designs of Dior and keep the look simple but still elegant, Galliano wanted to express excitement in his collections.
In May 1998 another Dior boutique was opened in Paris and also in New York City. This was the first time Paris would witness the opening of a Parisian Dior Boutique which was very exciting for the company. The following year the perfume ‘J’adore’ was released which became well known across the world, but not only in Paris. On 5th October 1999, Galliano released the Dior Spring/Summer collection 2000- Ready- To-Wear fashion show, the show consisted of saddle bags. Galliano was promoted to extend his thinking into accessories, advertising and communication for the company.
The first advertisement under Galliano’s influence was photographed by Nick Knight featuring a provocative image of two girls stimulating intercourse which then became known around the world and other fashion company’s started to use sex as advertisement porn chic. Galliano utilized his time at Dior wisely by making the company’s name famous globally through his release of accessories such as watches and fragrances. In 2001 Galliano began to release his own Dior watches with the start of the “Chris 47 Aluminum” line, this created an exciting era in Dior.
The watches he released were a big hit; some were only a one off collection. When the Dior 66 watch was released people were shocked because it was going against Dior’s femininity. By 2002, 130 boutiques in different locations were in full operation. Dior Fine Jewelry also launched her own watch name “Le D de Dior” resembling the collection of fine Jewelry. Not only did the company produce feminine watches but masculine as well. The company was not just aimed at femininity anymore but wanted to provide for men also. In 2006, the Dior watch booth
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