The house of Dior is now one of the most important and influential luxury brands in the world. Like all starting points, it took a lot of effort and many brilliant minds after Christian Dior to make this happen. Today we will look at the creative directors that have been appointed at Dior after the passing of Christian Dior in 1957.
I couldn’t start this article without mentioning the man who put in place the pillars and foundation of the house: Christian Dior. Born in Normandy (France) in 1905, he came from a wealthy family. He initially opened a gallery and due to his friendship with Pablo Picasso, he was very successful at it. Fast forward in time, the Great Depression hits Europe and Dior needs a plan B as his gallery shut down. His first association with fashion was in his effort of adapting to the new difficult ages. He started selling fashion sketches on the street, which landed him a job in Figaro Magazine. A series of various life events turned into Christian Dior starting his own fashion house at the age of 41. For many it is an amazing example of ‘it’s never too late’.
In 1947 he launched his first collection, which was named ‘New Look’ by then Harper’s Bazar editor Carmel Snow. Dior has started a new trend by adopting the ‘H-line’ silhouette into his designs. He brought back the glamour into women’s life with his lavish designs. He also created the Tulip silhouette, the junon dress and his dresses were famously falling right below the knee.
Dior died in 1957 of a tragic heart attack. It was even more tragic the fact that his label was experiencing high acclamation and recognition.
But the Christian Dior’s work would have not been in vain, as after his death 6 creative directors have tried to follow Christian’s legacy and influence, and make the brand what it is today.
Yves Saint Laurent
He was born on 1st of August 1936 in Algeria. Yves was only 21 years old when he joined the house of Dior as creative director. During his tenure he launched his Trapeze collection with looser silhouettes and swinging skirts. This was received with a bit of controversy, as it was so different than the ‘New Look’ of Sir Christian Dior.
Marc was born on August 22, 1926 in France. While at Dior, his designs were classic and he introduced the Slim Look. He catered for famous clients like Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Lauren.
Born on August 15, 1944 in Legnano Italy. He designed the now known Lady Dior Handbag in 1994. Ferré first called it the Chouchou (“favorite”) bag, which was later named Lady Dior due to Princess Diana of Wales. The bag was gifted to her and she wore it ever since in numerous occasions.
John was born on November 28, 1960, in Gibraltar. During his tenure as creative director at Dior, he received critical acclaim for his Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections. He introduced the famous Saddle Bag in 1999, and officially debuted in the spring/summer 2000 collection. If you want to read more about the bag, I have another article covering more details here.
He was born in January 12, 1968 Belgium. Raf’s signature looks, as creative director, were those with a romanic aesthetic and more so unique, the very short dresses worn over pants. He found a balance between honoring the traditions of the influential house but also implement his own ideas and designs to provide a modern edge. He also launched a documentary called ‘Dior and I’ which features the making and showcasing of autumn/winter 2012 haute couture collection.
Maria Grazia Chiuri
She was born in February 1964, Italy. Chiuri had a clear vision of reinventing the iconic designs while paying homage to her predecessors. She is a feminist and she is showing this through her empowering designs and funny prints. Appointed as Creative Director in 2016, she is also the first woman to be at the helm of the brand, joining her equally famous colleagues Miuccia Prada and Donatella Versace.
The history of Dior is much longer and far more detailed than this. I recommend watching the documentary ‘Dior and I’ and The Little Book of Dior by Karen Homer.
Are you a fan of the Dior Fashion House? Let me know down in the comments which one of all the creative directors of Dior have made most impact on you.