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Fashion Through Time: Dior’s Fascinating Evolution Through Eras

Fashion Through Time: Dior’s Fascinating Evolution Through Eras

Founded by Christian Dior in 1946, Dior has since become one of the most significant and established luxury brands in the world. Throughout the years, the brand has continued to evolve under the supervision of visionary designers. It’s become a synonym for sophistication, innovation, and elegance, and has been continuously shaping and revolutionizing the industry. 

Christian Dior was born in France at the beginning of the 20th century and showed exceptional artistic talent from a young age. After leaving school, he took over a small art gallery that was given to him by his father but was forced to close it a few years later, following the death of both his mother and brother and the collapse of his father’s business. He was then called up for military service in 1940, at the end of which he started working for Lucien Long alongside Pierre Balmain. 

Photo belongs to Getty Images.

Christian founded the Dior fashion house on December 16, 1946, however, Dior considers 1947 to be the beginning, as that is when he showed his debut collection. He revolutionized the post-war fashion landscape with the groundbreaking “New Look”, characterized by cinched waists, rounded shoulders, and full skirts. His designs were worn by world-renowned actresses and he was even invited to orchestrate a private presentation of the collection to the British royal family. Dior opened the doors to a luxury ready-to-wear house in New York in 1948 and launched the first Dior fragrance, Miss Dior in the same year. 

Christian Dior’s New Look, photo belongs to All Media.

In 1955, Christian Dior appointed then-19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent as his design assistant and also announced the decision that he had chosen him as his successor. Shortly thereafter, in 1957, Dior suffered a heart attack and passed away unexpectedly at the age of 52, which devastated both the fashion house and the entire industry.

Yves Saint Laurent was appointed as creative director at the age of 21 and remained in the position until he was drafted into the military, after which he was replaced by Marc Bohan who proved incredibly successful and ultimately became the longest-serving creative director at Dior. Bohan defined a new era and silhouette, the “Slim Look”, a more modern version of Dior’s iconic shape, which made way for an era of women dressed in an unrestricted manner. 

Bohan left Dior in 1989 and was replaced by Gianfranco Ferré, who brought a new architectural spirit to the fifteen collections he designed. His designs introduced a breath of fresh air and were more abstract than those of his predecessors, boasting strong structures and exaggerated volumes. 

In 1997, after Ferré left to focus on his own brand, John Galliano was appointed as creative director and he held the position until 2011, when he was dismissed due to a controversial video that showed his inappropriate behavior while intoxicated. His era is remembered as the most electrifying in the history of Dior. He saw fashion as storytelling and under his reign, Dior experienced a radical shift from quaint elegance to a new dedication to fantasy, spectacularity, and artistry. He is responsible for many best-selling designs, including the Saddle Bag.

Following Galliano’s scandal, Bill Gaytten presented two collections but was ultimately replaced by Raf Simons, who was the creative director of Dior from 2012 to 2015. His work brought back the sophisticated and elegant look of the past with a new, modern edge and his time at the brand is considered one of the peak points of Dior. However, in 2015, he decided not to renew his contract and left to focus on his own brand.

In 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri was the first woman to be appointed creative director at Dior. She has changed the aesthetics of the brand, bringing forth a more conscious, feminist approach. Chiuiri’s vision extends beyond fashion, as she also aims to empower women through her clothing and actively involves them in the creative process. This commitment is evident in deliberate actions, such as hiring female photographers and designers to collaborate with. 

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Maria Grazia Chiuri, photo belongs to Buro. 

In conclusion, Dior’s journey from a post-war phenomenon to a contemporary powerhouse is a testament to its ability to adapt, innovate, and transcend the confines of time. It continues to captivate and inspire generations, leaving an unmatched legacy in the fashion industry and making each collection a testament to the house’s dedication to craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a deep appreciation for artistry. 

Sources: British Vogue, NSS Mag

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