Often, the life of a fashion designer is but a small candle in the blinding fireball that is couture. Once deceased, that candle flickers and goes out. He or she is a mere passing memory, outlived only by shards of silk and cataloged photographs. Few designers’ legacies burn brightly, long after they pass on.
Sixty-five years ago, the world witnessed the launch of what is arguably the most influential and cutting-edge fashion line and designer – Christian Dior. Click more to learn the full story.
His first line, displayed on the Spring-Summer runway on February 12, 1947, was named Corolle, or “figure-8,” which called attention to the rising popularity of the hourglass shape and prominent shoulders.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dior’s captivating fashion house helped restore a war-battered Paris and establish its position as the fashion world’s capital.
During this time, Dior was also the first to name an evening-wear dress the ‘cocktail.’ MMA states that this term allowed magazines, boutiques and other fashion houses to expand on cocktail-appropriate accessories and attire.
Ten years later – in 1957 – Dior died of long-disputed (and ultimately undisclosed) circumstances. At 52 years old, the sartorialist died on vacation, from what many deem to be a heart attack or seizure.
Following Dior’s death, there was significant talk of shutting down the House altogether; after general backlash from the French government and fashion industry, the House decided otherwise, and pressed forward with designs.
In 1970, then-head designer Marc Bohan launched the Christian Dior Homme line. The following 10 years consisted of great success. Royalty donned Dior’s haute couture designs.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, Dior continued to open high-end boutiques in L.A., New York, Tokyo, London and beyond, and now possesses 210 locations worldwide. Sixty-five years later, though, Dior is still one of the leading couture designers of the world.
Upon watching his Spring/Summer 2012 Couture line, I was vividly reminded that fashion is walking, breathing, living art. See below for some of PW Style’s top picks from Dior’s history: