When it comes to naming a fashion house that is both timeless and the most respectful even nowadays, Dior is the very definition of it.
Christian Dior founded the house of Christian Dior on December 16, 1946, although the house itself considers 1947 to be the year of foundation, as on that year Christian Dior presented his first collection, featuring 90 different looks.
Prior to that, Christian Dior used to own a small art gallery, where he and his friends sold work by different artists, including Pablo Picasso. During the Great Depression, in 1929 he was forced to close the art gallery and began working with fashion designer Robert Piguet until he was called up for military service in 1940.
In 1942, he started working for couturier Lucien Long, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers. Several years later, in 1947 Christian Dior presented his debut collection. Named “Corolle” and “Huit”, the lines were quickly named as the “New Look” from Harper’s Bazaar US magazine editor, Carmen Snow. His creations received some criticism at the very beginning, but soon famous people like Rita Hayworth and Margot Fonteyn bought many pieces from Dior, which led to a new successful chapter for the fashion house.
The designer was also invited to stage a private presentation of the collection for the British royal family, although it is reported that King George V forbade the young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, from wearing the New Look as it could be considered as a bad example, given that rationing was still in force at the time.
In 1948, Dior launched Dior Parfums with Miss Dior becoming its first fragrance. He named the fragrance Miss Dior as a tribute to his sister, who was imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp for joining the French Resistance. In 1949 he launched Diorama.
In 1955, Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s design assistant, at the age of 19. In 1957, during a meeting between Yves Saint Laurent’s mother and Christian Dior, the latter confessed that he had chosen Yves Saint Laurent to succeed him at Dior. Shortly after the meeting, Dior suffered a heart attack.
Saint Laurent became the creative director until he had to join the army, and was replaced by Marc Bohan. Bohan proved to be the right choice because he presented a new modern look, the Slim Look.
Gianfranco Ferre became the creative director of Christian Dior in 1989, replacing Marc Bohan. He remained in this position until 1997.
In 1997, British designer John Galliano was appointed creative director until March 2011, when he was dismissed for making anti-Semitic remarks in public. During his time with the fashion house, Galliano presented many outstanding designs which are still remembered nowadays.
Bill Gaytten was made creative director until April 9th, 2012 when it was announced that Raf Simons had taken over.
In 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri was announced as the new creative director of house Dior, which made her the first woman to take the position.