House of Dior
The House of Dior was founded on 16th December 1946 and on 12th February 1947 Christian launched his first fashion collection for Spring/Summer 1947.
This new collection went down in the fashion industry as the “New Look” and was a revolutionary era for women at the end of the 1940s.
The debut collection of Christian Dior is credited with having revived the fashion industry of France and brought back the spirit of haute couture.
The way the New Look was presented with a silhouette was characterised by a small nipped in waist and a full skirt falling below mid-calf length which emphasised the bust and the hips.The collection overall showcased more stereotypically feminine designs in contrast to the popular fashions of wartime with full skirts, tight waists and soft shoulders.
The New Look became extremely popular influencing other fashion designers well into the 1950s and Dior also gained a number of prominent clients from Hollywood, the United States and the European aristocracy.
As a result Paris which had fallen from its position as the capital of fashion world after WWII regained its pre-eminence. The New Look was welcome in Europe as a refreshing antidote to the wartime defeminising uniforms and was embraced by stylish women such as Princess Margaret in the UK.
The New Look did not just affect the designers in the 1950s but also more recent designers in the 2000s including Vivienne Westwood.
It has never been quite established whether it was 1947 or 1948 when Christian Dior launched Christian Dior Parfums.
Christian Dior Parfums as 1947 or 1948
The Dior corporation lists the founding of Christian Dior Parfums as 1947 with the launch of its first perfume Miss Dior.
Dior revolutionised the perfumery industry with the launch of the Miss Dior parfum which was named after his sister Catherine Dior.
In 1950 Dior became the exclusive designer of Marlene Dietrich’s dresses in the Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright. He also published a book and the first Dior shoe line was launched in 1953. By the mid 1950’s the House of Dior was a well respected fashion empire.
The first Dior boutique was established in 1954 in honour of Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Marlborough
. A Dior fashion show was held at Blenheim Palace and between 1954 and 1957 Dior launched more highly successful fashion lines.
The first Dior lipstick was released in 1955 and by 1956 which was the 10th anniversary of the company over 100,000 garments had been sold including 14 dresses for Dior which had been exclusively made for the actress Ava Gardner.
Christian Dior Passing
On 24th October 1957 Christian Dior died of a third heart attack.
The captivating impact of Dior’s creative fashion genius earned him recognition of one of history’s greatest fashion icons. Following his death it was written in the Contemporary Fashion magazine that “by the time Dior died his name had become synonymous with taste and luxury”
Yves Saint Laurent
The death of Christian Dior left the House of Dior in chaos however 21 year old Yves Saint Laurent was promoted to Artistic Director and proved to be the appropriate choice after his first collection for Dior.
The clothes were as meticulously made and perfectly proportioned as Dior’s in the same exquisite fabrics but as a young designer he made them softer, lighter and easier to wear.
Yves Saint Laurent was called up to join the French army which forced to leave the House of Dior after having completed six Dior collections.
He was replaced by Marc Bohan in late 1960 and with the Dior label produced wearable,e elegant clothes. Bohan’s designs were very well esteemed by prominent social figures such as Elizabeth Taylor who ordered twelve Dior dresses from Bohan’sSpring/Summer collection in 1961.
The Christian Dior co-ordinated knit line was released in 1968 and also in this same year Christian Dior Parfums was sold.
This however had no effect on the House of Dior operations and the Chirstian Dior cosmetics business was born in 1969 with the creation of an exclusive line.
Following this Bohan launched the first Christian Dior, Dior Homme clothing line in 1970 and the Diorella perfume was released in 1972.
In 1973 the Christian Dior Ready-to-Wear Fur Collection was created in France and then manufactured under licence in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Black Moon watch
The first Dior watch “Black Moon“ was released in 1972 in collaboration with licensee Benedom. (Image unavailble)
Dior haute couture graced the bodies of Princess Grace of Monaco, Nicaraguan First Lady Hope Portocarrero, Princess Alexandria of Yugoslavia and the younger daughter of Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Lady Pamela Hicks for the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
In this same year Arnault took over the company as chairman, chief executive under Arnault.
He repositioned it as a holding company Christian Dior SA of the Dior Couture fashion business. On the 40th anniversary of Dior’s first collection the Paris Fashion Museum dedicated an exhibition to Christian Dior
In 1988 Arnault’s Christian Dior SAs took a 32% equity stake into the share capital of Moet-Hennessy – Louis Vuitton through its subsidiary Jacques Rober creating what would become one of the leading and most influential luxury goods companies in the world. Under the merger the operations of Chirstian Dior Courture and Christian Dior Parfums were once again reunited.
In 1989 Bohan was replaced by Gianfranco Ferre who left behind the traditional Dior associations of flirtation and romance and introduced concepts and a style described as refined, sober and strict.
Ferre headed design for Haute Couture, Haute Fourrure, Women’s Ready-to-Wear, Ready-to-Wear Furs and Women’s Accessories collections. His first collection was awarded the De d’Or in 1989. That year a boutique was opened in Hawaii.
Further Dior boutiques were opened in 1990 in upscale New York City, Los Angeles and Tokyo shopping districts. Another selection of watches named “Bagheera” inspired by the round design of “Black Moon” watches was also released in 1990.
In 1991 Christian Dior was listed on the stock market and then on the Paris Stock Exchange’s monthly settlement market and the perfume Dune was launched. Dior was now recognised into three categories
- Women’s Ready-to-Wear, lingerie and children’s wear
- Accessories and jewellery
15th October 1997
On 15th October 1997 the Dior headquarters store was reopened, it had been closed and remodeled in a celebrity studded event including Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore and Jacques Chirac.
That year Christian Dior Couture also took over all thirteen boutique franchises from Japan’s Kanebo.
In May 1998 another Dior boutique was opened in Paris and the first jewellery boutique opened in New York City. The perfume J’Adore was released in 1999 and on 5th October 1999 the Dior Spring/Summer 2000 Ready-to-Wear fashion show took place debuting the new Saddle bag.
The men’s fragrance “Higher” was released in 2001 followed by the perfume “Addict” in 2002.
The company then opened Milan’s first Dior Homme boutique on 20th February 2002 in this same year 130 locations were in full operation.
In 2003 the “Chris 47 Steel” watch was released as a cousin of the “Chris 47 Aluminium” and on 7th December 2003 the Dior flagship boutique was opened in Tokyo with a second boutique opening in 2004.
Also an exclusive Dior Homme boutique was opened in Paris and it presented the entire Dior Homme collection together with a second Dior fine jewellery boutique also opening in Paris.
The designer of Dior fine jewellery launched her own watch named “Le D de Dior” signifying the entrance of Dior watches into its collection of fine jewellery.
The watch was originally designed for women but made use of many design features which are typically thought of as masculine.
Slimane next released a watch for the Dior Homme collection called ”Chiffre Rouge“. This special watch included the signature look of Dior Homme. Watch design and technology match each other inseparably to create the perfect expression of Dior Homme’s artistic excellence and to increase the watchmaking legitimacy of Dior timepieces.
A second line of watches then followed called “La Baby de Dior” the design of which was meant to be more feminine with a more jewellery look.
The “Miss Dior Cherie” perfume and the “Dior Homme”-2005
The “Miss Dior Cherie” perfume and the “Dior Homme” fragrance were released in 2005. Following this were the “Dior Christal” watches combined of steel and blue sapphires to create a creative and innovative collection. Christian Dior SA then celebrated the 13th anniversary of Dior watches in 2005 and in April of that year its “Chiffre Rouge” collection was recognised by the World Watches and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland and the fashion house also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birthday of designer Christian Dior. An exhibition “Christian Dior: Man of the Century” was held in the Dior Museum in Normandy.
In 2006 the Dior watch booth was dedicated to the Dior Canework. This pattern was made by designer Christian Dior and based on the Napoleon III chairs used in his fashion shows.
In 2007 Kris Van Assche was appointed as the new artistic director of Dior Homme who presented his first collection later that year. The 60th anniversary of the founding of the House Dior was officially celebrated as well.
widely talked about throughout various industry and social media sources as it was a display of Dior throughout its transition.
In March 2015 it was announced that Rihanna was chosen as the official spokeswoman for Dior which makes her the first black woman to take the spokeswoman position at Dior and Israeli model Sofia Mechetner was chosen to be the new face of Dior.
In April 2016 a new Dior flagship boutique opened in San Francisco with a party hosted by Jaime King.
In 2017 Dior renovated and expanded its Madrid store. The brand celebrated the opening of the new boutique in a masked ball a number of Spanish celebrities
Partnerships & Growth
Dior has created strong partnerships with Hollywood celebrities and social media influencers, working closely with these individuals to reach more demographics and re-establish its identity as a new, modern brand despite the fact that it has been around for a while.
This has enabled the brand to portray a more populist image and attract a much wider audience. The brand has worked with dressed contemporary style icons such as Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o who may resonate with millennials.
Dior have effectively implemented social media into their marketing strategy in which images and videos from campaigns are shared on both the official Dior profile and on the celebrity ambassadors’ social media pages.
An example of this success is seen in the Secret Garden campaign featuring Rihanna as she seen dancing to one of her songs through a hall of mirrors.
By being associated with Rihanna’s song the company created a sense of association with her brand which was beneficial to the company as she was ranked as the most marketable celebrity in 2016.
By collaborating with Rihanna it allows the company to engage more of the market as Rihanna’s social media following is four times larger that that of the fashion house.
It is true to say the Christian Dior was indeed a very innovative and clever individual who had foresight and talent and although he may no longer be here in the flesh his legacy surely will live on forever.