10 Facts about Christian Dior you need to know about
‘A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.’ – Christian Dior
Unlike many of his fashion contemporise, Christian Dior was born into a wealthy French family. Dior was born in Granville, a coastal town in Normandy, France in 1905. His father was a wealthy businessman who owned a fertilizer company, and the family moved to Paris, when Dior was about five years old. Christian Dior is one of the best known names in fashion and he has been accredited with bringing many new styles to women’s fashion. Initially though, women didn’t like his styles very much, because many of his designs used yards of fabric and covered up their legs, and below are ten more facts about Christian Dior, the master of shapes and silhouettes, that might surprise you:
1. His parents wanted him to be a diplomat
Cristian Dior’s parents had hoped that he would join the French diplomatic service, but Dior had other plans. He wanted to follow his artistic side and began by selling his own sketches on the street, for pocket money.
2. Christian Dior was inspired by architecture
‘A dress is a piece of ephemeral architecture, designed to enhance the proportions of the female body.’ – Christian Dior
The designer had a great love for architecture and many of his designs emphasised the shape and the form of the female body. He used many different techniques in his clothes that emphasised the hips and the bust to give women a voluptuous look.
3. Christian Dior was very superstitious
Dior was a very superstitious man and this only increased as he got older. He always included a garment in every collection named after his home town of Grandville and in every one of his shows, at least, one model had to carry a bunch of white lilies.
4. Christian Dior once owned an art gallery
His wealthy father set Dior up with his own art gallery in 1928 on the condition, that the family name did not appear above the door. It was only open for a few years, but in that time, the gallery handled works by many famous artists including Pablo Picasso.
5. He died of unknown cause at the age of 52
Though the circumstances of Christian Dior’s death have never been officially confirmed, some people say that he died of a heart attack, in 1957, after choking on a fish bone, others say that the heart attack was caused by playing a game of cards, but the real cause of his death still remains unknown and unconfirmed.
6. Christian Dior once employed Yves Saint Laurent
Christian Dior employed Yves Saint Laurent as a design assistant, when he was just 19 years of age. They worked well together until Yves Saint Laurent’s conscription into the army, after which, the two designers fell out and the working relationship ended in an acrimonious legal battle. Yves Saint Laurent recalled: “I couldn’t speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at by his side.”
7. Christian Dior designed dresses for Nazi officer’s wives
In the years of the Second World War, Dior worked at the house of Lucien Lelong, where dresses were designed for the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. Meanwhile, Dior’s sister, Catherine, fought in the French resistance.
8. He was accused of using too much fabric
There was also a backlash against the Dior’s designs during the Second World War, because it was felt by some that he was using too much fabric, which was in great shortage at that time. During one photo shoot, the models wearing Dior’s clothes were attacked by angry fabric vendors.
9. His creations were favoured by the rich and the famous
The house of Dior was graced with orders from many celebrities including Rita Hayworth and Margot Fonteyn, which helped to increase his profile in the fashion world. He was also once asked to present a private presentation of his collection to the British Royal Family.
10. He was the first couturier to licence his designs
Christian Dior was the first designer to lend his name to a range of accessories to go with his line of clothing. Now a standard practice amongst designers, in 1949 when Dior did this, he was heavily criticised for cheapening the haute couture industry.
What other facts about Christian Dior did we forget to mention? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.