Design, Drama, & Death: The Real Story of Christian Dior
Posted on December 13 2017
Christian Dior’s visionary designs have transcended time and fashion itself. An art gallery owner turned talented couturier, Dior was constantly setting standards of beauty and brains. He was a savvy businessman and dedicated designer, and continues to be celebrated today for his artistic vision and great contributions to the industry of fashion as whole.
Christian Dior grew up on the coast of Normandy, France, and was born to a wealthy family that included his parents and four other siblings. His family moved to Paris when Dior was five years old, where he would live for most of his life. Dior was an artist, and against his parent’s wishes to become a diplomat, he sought instead to be involved in art. He began selling fashion sketches on the streets of Paris to make money, and eventually took over an art gallery, given to him by his father. Dior and his friend sold pieces by artists that included Picasso. After his father’s death, Dior was forced to close the gallery, but his love for art only became stronger. In 1946, Dior founded the fashion house we know and love today.
Dior was heavily inspired by architecture and often included architectural influences in his designs. Though he was able to appreciate the structural beauty of the boxier, fabric-conserving shapes of his time, Dior’s designs were more extravagant and shapely than most. He emphasized the curves and natural form of the woman’s body, creating an exaggerated silhouette and dramatic form. At first, his elaborate designs were not well received, due to the excessive amount of fabric used, and the fact that they often covered the legs.
During World War II, there was a great shortage of fabric, which deeply affected the fashion industry. Amid post-war fabric restrictions, Dior was criticized by fabric vendors for continuing to use too much fabric in his designs. Even with his widespread praise and devoted following, the controversy drew negative attention when his models were attacked after a photoshoot. In spite of all of this, Dior’s extravagant designs helped Paris to re-emerge as the great fashion capital it had once been, and had solidified Dior’s place in the world of high fashion.
The mystery surrounding Christian Dior’s death is still talked about today. According to some sources, the fashion designer died at the age of 52 as a result of a heart attack following a choking incident while vacationing in Italy. Other reports state that he died following a card game, while closer sources noted that there were rumors he died after having had a strenuous sexual encounter.
Today, Dior is celebrated for many things. Not only did he create a legacy of class and drama, Dior was the first designer to license his designs for use in accessories, perfumes, ties, and other luxury items to complement his pieces. He saw the value in creating a lifestyle brand that was wearable in many facets of life. His designs were inspired by the architecture of his time, and have become timeless works of art.