Saturday, September 30, 2006

Christian Dior

Christian Dior (January 21, 1905 – October 24, 1957), was an influential French fashion designer. He was born in Granville, Normandy, France, heir to a fertilizer fortune

Dior attended the Catholic school College Stanislas, and then the Paris Institute of Political Studies (better known as Sciences Po), after which he established his main house of couture in Paris in 1946 with the backing of textile magnate Marcel Boussac. In twelve years he expanded his business to 15 countries and employed over 2,000 people.
Dior is known mainly for the 1947 "New Look" which employed narrow shoulders, a constricted waist, an emphasized bust, and long, wide skirt, all in striking contrast to the severity of wartime fashions. His designs represented consistent classic elegance, stressing the feminine look. The New Look revolutionized women's dress and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion world after World War II. Dior spread his fashions around the world when he and his partner, Jacques Rouet, started franchises in the fashion industry. In 1953 Yves Saint-Laurent became Dior's assistant and was destined to be his successor but was reluctantly forced to leave when the time came for his military service. On returning, after trouble with his temporary replacement Marc Bohan, Saint-Laurent soon opened his own maison de couture once his military obligations were over.

Dior was continually feuding with his elder brother Raymond Dior. One of Christian's earliest memories was of Raymond locking him in the dark cellar of the house in Granville whenever he had the opportunity, then search the garden for live animals or insects to push under the door. Once Christian had made his fortune he attempted to repurchase the house where he was born but the new owner (Granville town council) rejected his offers. Dior refused to set foot in the town of Granville for the rest of his life. However, when Jean Cocteau bought the small château at Milly-la-Forêt (Essonne) and Christian Dior shortly afterwards bought a disused water-mill in the same village, he persuaded his brother Raymond to buy a fermette in the village of Noisy-sur-École (Seine-et-Marne) only four kilometers away. On the rare occasions when they found themselves together it usually ended in dispute with Raymond calling his brother "filthy queer" while Christian replied with "impotent drunk".

Towards the end of his life Christian's life was a hectic round of injections to wake up in the morning, injections for his appetite, and further injections to sleep. His niece, Françoise Dior, who had once been his favourite (at her marriage with Count Robert-Henri de Caumont la Force it was Christian who gave the bride away at the ceremony while Raymond sat drinking in a local bar) but she held Nazi sympathies. She openly blamed Christian's Jewish manageress who procured his medications, along with a collection of young men, of being part of a Jewish plot forcing him towards his death. For once Raymond agreed with his rebel daughter, while discounting the Jewish plot theory. Normally under French inheritance law, having no children or parents, Raymond should have been Christian's successor but the rift provoked by Françoise caused Christian to disinherit his close family totally.

The plump Dior, who suffered from heart trouble, reportedly died of a heart attack while undergoing a weight-loss cure at the spa in Montecatini, Italy, in an effort to make himself more desirable to his young North African lover, singer Jacques Benita; the death reportedly occurred in the lobby of the Hotel Pace after an after-dinner canasta game. Alexis: The Memoirs of the Baron de Redé, the 2005 memoirs of Paris socialite Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé, however, suggests that the fashion designer actually died of a heart attack after a too strenuous evening spent with two young men.

Although his death was the big story in the French press it was quickly forgotten, overshadowed by the launching of the first Soviet Sputnik three days later.

At the time of his death, Dior salons had been opened in 24 countries. The Dior firm—successively led by designers Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano and Hedi Slimane—continued to be a fashion leader and was associated with a much wider range of merchandise, including menswear, household linens, and such fragrances as the critical and popular success Eau Savage, widely considered a classic scent.

No comments:


Royalty... Oh la, la!

Magazine by Dolce & Gabbana

KRQ : Listen Live