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08-07-2007
  76
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Christian Dior 1951
image from perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com
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08-07-2007
  77
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hope he didn't saw galliano's ss06 haute couture, he would die again

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12-07-2007
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Couture Evening Coat, 1950s.






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26-07-2007
  79
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Quote:
Dior Couture Wool Cocktail Dress, 1948
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29-07-2007
  80
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I that plisse pleat dress with criss-cross neck and flower-detailed self belt.

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21-08-2007
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Dior Couture Wool Cocktail Dress, 1948
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21-08-2007
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^gorgeous!

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23-08-2007
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Christian Dior 1905-1957
Hey everyone. I am new to TFS and thought I would start off with my own little bio on one of the great fashion icons. I posted in on my blog yesterday, and it didn't get much reads what with my interview series going on, so maybe it will be better appreciated here by all of you lovely fashion lovers.
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The phenomenon that is Christian Lacroix once told the story of when he was a child: “My mother says that when I was little my grandfather used to take me and my cousins on one side after dinner and as what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said 'Christian Dior'.”

So who is is this man, so famous and revolutionary at a time when France disappeared from the fashion maps, and why did he seem more of an institution than a man himself?

BEFORE HIS TIME
Christian Dior was born in 1905 on the Normandy coast in France, a time that couldn't be better suited for someone who would soon bring Paris back into the worlds central focus on fashion. In my Haute Couture Club article we learned that the father of haute couture, Charles Worth in 1846, had many successors who followed in the couture house footsteps, most notably Jeanne Lanvin. But it was the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800's that brought on the mass production and more accessibly made womens wear that reflected the social changes of society. The 'Gibson Girl' look of the 1890's was the first trademark look for fashion, personified by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, giving style to basic high-necked, long-sleeved blouses and full skirts. It was the most practical and feminine look to date, after that of royalty's extravagant concoctions. So at the time, Gibson Girl and Levi Strauss' working men's gear was paving the way for American fashion. During WW1 in 1914, women were projected into the workforce limelight and began to wear simplified clothing that mimicked men's business suits. Decorative details disappeared in favor for a more tailored look, corsets were discarded and the curved hourglass silhouette was replaced by the tube. Hemlines rose and skirts opened wider to allow freedom of movement in the workplace. These new looks were led by the top dominating designers of the time, including Paul Poiret and his tubular dresses, Gabrielle Chanel and her Garcon (boyish style) designs, Madeleine Vionnet who originated the body-con bias-cut dress, along with Jean Patou who created the famous 'Flapper' look in 1925; all of whom were French designers setting trends for the rest of the world. This new force in mass production or what we now call ready-to-wear, made couturiers such as Lucien Long (whom Dior will come to assist in 1941) add RTW lines to their collections as profitable business ventures. However, soon enough, even Long himself (then president of the Paris Couture Syndicale) would have to come to terms with the dramatic effects WWII would bring to fashion. With almost little to no fabrics to work with, little food, and many designers forced to close down, where would couture end up and who would come to revive France as the capital of fashion?


EARLY LIFE

Christian Dior is not that of the typical experimental young boy who grew up dressing in mother's clothes and sketching until wee hours of the night. He grew up with four other siblings in a family well provided for by his wealthy fertilizer manufacturing father. And it was his father, not too surprisingly, that would try and plan his son's future. As his father, Alexandre Dior, would have it, Christian would become a politician by studying at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris, even though his real interests lay in architecture. Christian fulfilled his father's requests without hesitation, but soon his passion for the arts would be undeniable. So later in 1928, along with a friend and financial support of his father, Christian Dior opened an art gallery called Galerie Jaques Bonjean (his father required that the Dior family name not be used). The gallery soon became an avant—garde hotspot with collections that included the likes of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Without warning, in 1931 depression fell upon the Dior family with the death of Christian's older brother followed by his mother soon after. The family firm collapsed and his gallery regretfully had to close. In the years following, Christian made a living by selling off his art collection and personal sketches to haute couture houses. Finally, couturier Robert Piguet employed Christan as a design assistant in 1938. Unfortunately, the following year, in what would seem like the second in a strew of unfortunate events, WWII broke out and Christian had to serve as an officer for the year until France's surrender. After his release, he joined his father and sister on a farm in Provence, but was soon offered the coveted position alongside Lucien Long in Paris during 1941. I must mention here that Long was lobbying the Germans to revive the couture trade that I mentioned earlier was in total upheaval. So as times would have it, Dior spent the rest of the war dressing Nazi wives and their social counterparts.



France emerged from the was in ruins, with hundreds of thousands buildings destroyed and clothes as well as food in short supply. But this all meant opportunities for new business ventures, with fashion being no exception. Luckily, Christian was chosen by a childhood friend from his hometown to revive a clothing company owned by Marcel Boussac, a man at the time who had an empire of racing stables, textile mills, newspapers and was known as the “King of Cotton”. Upon meeting Boussac, Christian explained his theory that society and the world was ready for an exciting post-war style. His description of a luxurious new look included a sumptuous silhouette and billowing skirts. This sounded perfect to Boussac who owed much of his fortune selling bulks of fabrics. Boussac didn't hesitate to launch Dior's couture house and even provided an unprecedented 60 million francs, his young civil servant Jaques Rouet, 85 employees and a modest mansion at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the now legendary birthplace for the House of Dior. The 12th of February, 1947 was the first Christian Dior show, but it was during days when the sharp-shouldered, knee-length skirt suit versions of Elsa Schiaparelli's slink 1930's silhouette. Of the presentation for Dior's new collection, Carmel Snow (famed editor of Harper Bazaar) stated, “It's quite a revelation dear Christian. Your dresses have such a new look.” And so the New Look was born!



EARLY CAREER


Totally appropriate for the second post-was era, Christian was justified in his assumptions that women both needed and wanted something new. This new ideal was reminiscent of the 'Gibson Girl' look mentioned earlier and that of Belle Epoque, with long skirts, tiny waists and luxurious fabrics, something he grew up watching his even mother wear. People clocked to his new atelier without hesitation. Orders came from clients such as Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Margot Fonteyn, and Marlene Dietrich whom he would dress for many movie roles to come.
What set the House of Dior apart sow quickly was their business structure implemented by Dior's right-hand man, Jaques Rouet. After seeing the likes of Chanel with her perfumes and Schiaparelli with her hosiery, Rouet knew the future of Dior lay in their diversification and global expansion. Capitalizing on the immediate publicity generated by the New Look, House of Dior set up shop on New York's famed 5th Avenue in 1948 with a RTW and fur salon outpost. It wasn't long before the launch of Miss Dior, the house's first perfume. Yet this was only the beginning for their marketing strategies and ways of doing business. Soon even company heads came knocking for a piece of the Dior name, and the first was none other than an American hosiery company that offered a then-enormous fee of $10,000 for the rights of the Dior name on the placement of a stockings collection. Christian proposed waiving the fee in exchange for a percentage of all sales, hence introducing what we now know as royalties. The same kind of systematic approach was used on Dior's collections. He broke up his ideas in three categories: new, adaptations, and proven classics. When he tried experimentations such as a suit he designed inspired by a radical philosopher (Jean-Paul Satre) no one purchased the garment and Christian strayed no more. His clients we older and more conservative and very much appreciated the shoulder padding, structure and corset, so there was no need for much change.



It wasn't long before Christian turned into one of the wealthiest designers in France, with his house accounting for more than half of the country's haute couture exports. The very shy and superstitious (he had a resident tarot card reader) settled down with his dog in a flower farm in Provence. Dior had many reasons to relax and live comfortably, as his couture house was the bet-run and biggest throughout the 1950's. His main employees then consisted of Jaques Rouet as administrator, Suzanne Luling as sales director, Raymonde Zehnmacker who rant he studio, Marguerite Carre that was head of workrooms and Mitza Bricard, his infamous hat desirgner and chief stylist.


On the inside were also the vendueses (sales assistants) who each had their own rightful nurtured clients, the seamstresses of whom most worked right out of school, like that of Dior's new assistants Pierre Cardin (that later left in the 50's to start his own business) and Yves Saint Laurent that joined in 1955. The shows themselves sometimes included up to 200 outfits lasting up to 3 hours. And clients soon included department store buyers who bought rights to the designs and had them made by their own private seamstresses or stores like Marshall Fields, that was allowed to purchase a set amount of designs and later copy them stitch for stitch in knock-off collections (a concept very interesting what with today's blown out of proportion counterfeit industry).

COMING UP LATER: THE TRAGIC ENDING....


Last edited by theLreport; 23-08-2007 at 05:57 PM.
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28-08-2007
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Grey wild silk ensemble, circa 1957, with narrow Christian Dior label, the fitted dress with angular breast pockets, the jacket similar with interesting bust and arm seams.


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28-08-2007
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London emerald green Duchesse satin cocktail gown and jacket, late 1950s, labelled `Modele Original', no 22417, size 12, with boned/corsetry waistband, wide neckline, long sleeved bolero jacket.


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28-08-2007
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Red and black chiné silk ensemble, Autmn/Winter 1957, labelled and numbered 090052, with black chrystanthemum print on red faille ground the simple sleeveless shift dress with matching short jacket.


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28-08-2007
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London trapeze shaped gazar evening coat, late 1950s-early 60s, labelled Boutique but also numbered 50240, of voluminous cut, with domed silk covered buttons to the yoked neck, arm-slits inset into the side seams, diagonal pockets.


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28-08-2007
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London evening gowns, circa 1956-8, both labelled and numbered, comprising: simple `trapeze' shaped black taffeta cocktail gown with twisted scarf of silk to the neck, horsehair stiffened petticoats, no inner corset; and an aqua faille ball gown with boned inner bodice, cummerbund-like sash, corsage and pendant panels to the breast bust.




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13-09-2007
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Silver Christian Dior Dinner Dress, 1949-1952.






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“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny
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13-09-2007
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Linen Christian Dior, Late 1940s.




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