It was 1919 when young Christian Dior was told by a fortune-teller: “You will suffer poverty. But women are lucky for you, and through them you will achieve success. You will make a great deal of money out of them, and you will have to travel widely.” As mentioned in his memoir, he didn’t fully understand the prophecy, in fact, he was astonished. But the story was written, young Christian Dior would build a fashion empire out of women, and women were destined to love his creations.
World War II brought a turbulent atmosphere in the city of haute couture. After serving the army, Christian Dior went to work for famous Parisian couturier, Lucien Lelong. It took him ten years to make-up his mind and start his own maison—following various confrontations with his family about his professional aspirations, and an unsuccessful art gallery—since being a designer at Lelong’s maison was a job he was passionate about.
His aesthetic started developing during his early years at Granville, Manche. As he describes, his famous “Anglo-Norman” pink house was a revolting place yet it had a garden filled with trees and a spectacular view to the sea. Through his mother, Dior became a flower enthusiast—serving as a constant source of inspiration for his future collections—and through his childhood house, pink became his signature colour—claiming it’s “the sweetest of all colours.”
Dior’s personal challenge was to beautify women after a heartbreaking war. “In December 1946, as a result of the war and uniforms, women still looked and dressed like Amazons. But I designed clothes for flower-like women.” Christian Dior was there to prove beauty and elegance were above all things and, Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, unraveled his true aesthetic—calling the first collection “The New Look.” It was a reaction of everything he experienced during his youth combined with his greatest fascinations and a little nostalgia. It was what Parisian fashion needed at the time and what women were grieving for.
Being a “fashion guard” himself, Dior served with a creative and classy mind. He was determined to bring fashion back where it belong, at the heart of Paris. As he penned on his memoir: “In the world today haute couture is one of the last repositories of the marvellous, and couturiers the last possessors of the wand of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.”
Written by MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Visual Editor MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Photos by vogue.it, biography.com, instyle.mx and dior.com