The esthete that was Christian Dior has long been inspired by the heritage of French fashion – notably from the time of the court. The bow, icon of Dior, takes from that.
The Duchess of Fontanges, Christian Dior And The Bow
As we know, Christian Dior’s fashion owes a lot to his childhood spent in Granville. There, where, the last traces of the Belle Epoque could be read on the dress of elegant women. A few rare photos of the Dior family show all the romanticism of 1900s fashion. However, one photo catches the eye – one of a young Christian Dior wearing a bow. This tie could have been harmless if, years later, it was not at the heart of Monsieur’s sewing.
Cultivated and inspired by French heritage, Dior has indeed drawn more than one tics of its couture in this repertoire. The knot, like the corolla line, is directly linked to his fascination with courtly pageantry. The Duchess of Fontanges, a fashion icon of the time, would therefore have inspired her with all the charm of knots. She herself left her name to posterity in what is called a fontange. In this iconography, Dior also identifies Marie Antoinette’s passion for bows and ribbons; of crazy delicacy.
In these bows, there is all the sophistication that Christian Dior wants, after the war, to give to modern women. “I like bows to finish a neckline, garnish a hat, close a belt. Small, big or huge, I like them in all styles and all materials” he once said.
Miss Dior And The Bow
However, before appearing in the very couture of the house of Dior, the knot was seen for the first time in an advertisement. An illustration by René Gruau for the launch of Miss Dior features a swan sailing delicately, a lovely black bow around its neck. Immediately, the knot came to symbolize Miss Dior.
Inspired by the design, it was in 1950 that Christian Dior decided to change the appearance of his bottle – now the houndstooth print engraved on the bottom of the bottle, a bow twists the appearance. The bottle as we know it today was born.
Between 1948 and 1949, the bow began to enter Monsieur’s seam. The New Look having already made its revolution with strict but fluid lines, the knot actually softened the Dior allure even more. With lily of the valley, the knot becomes essential to Christian Dior – feminine and frivolous, it most often signs cocktail dresses and evening gowns of unaffected preciousness.
The Bow In Dior Couture
It is nevertheless to Yves Saint Laurent that we owe the Dior bow for having become iconic. The young couturier, replacing Dior who had just died in 1957, quickly organized an even more romantic vision.
His vision of a feline and romantic woman finds in the bow an obvious signature – often used in combination with another emblem of the house, the bow becomes the “Noeud Dior”. Embroidery, flying lines, frills, ruffles and tumbling flowers magnify truly sublime drapery with bows.
Later, it was John Galliano and his theatrical, baroque vision, which was once again inspired by the court, which breathed new life into the Dior bow. Extravagance and provocation mingle and make the knot an icon exploring the extremes. Very daring, Galliano styled bows are cut in new materials and fabrics, such as plastic or denim.
In 2009, for Spring/Summer, Galliano dedicated an entire collection to the Dior bow. The result? A plethora of wildly sophisticated dresses, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Dior touch – the bows here are huge!
A year later, it was in jewelry that Victoire de Castellane made the bowone of the most desired trims. The Tralala ring celebrates the romantic spirit of Dior and above all its passion for bows. This time, it is entirely encrusted with diamonds that the bow serves a new symbolism: that of the love bond.
Succeeding the brilliant Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chuiri will both have a slightly more minimal vision, bringing the bow out of the silhouettes to punctuate the accessories. Moreover, it was in 2012 that it came to brighten up the Lady Dior icon for the first time.
In her search for the essential, in her journey into the codes and roots most dear to Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri offers the bowto flourish on simple pieces. For the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017 collection, bows are wrapped in memorable shoes.
The romanticism of the Dior woman is something to recall, walking carried by the delicacy of the Dior Bow.
Her smoky eye and casual hair epitomize everything Bardot style. A style that comes first from an attitude – incandescent and spontaneous – which has set up a number of pieces in icons!
In the preface to the book which celebrates Le Style Bardot , by Henry-Jean Servat, Brigitte Bardot writes: “I dressed as I did my hair, as I liked it at the time. I wore elegant dresses from top designers, but also lovely unconventional bohemian outfits, things that I found by chance and that were becoming fashionable! I am proud to have created a style that never goes out of fashion since I have never been in fashion! “
Because this is the essence of the fashion icon that was Brigitte Bardot – the audacity of a woman against the grain of conventions, especially women.
Brigitte Bardot Style And Fashion Houses
If the Bardot style and first that of the effortless , the icon of the 60s and 70s was also dressed by the couturiers of his time.
Bardot and Les Couturiers
Bardot and the couturiers is first and foremost a story of the times. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was indeed to the house of Christian Dior and its New Look that the young Brigitte Bardot turned.
Discovered in 1949 in the front page of ELLE magazine, Brigitte Bardot often plays the role of models. That same year, for the house of Dior, she embodied a voluptuous and very elegant femininity in this dress signed by the hand of Monsieur. A dress called Miss Dior.
Because at the dawn of the 60s, it is in dresses and skirts with infinite ruffles that Brigitte Bardot likes to be seen. For ceremonies, galas or receptions in the four corners of the world, the woman who has not yet sent the conventions of the upper middle class to waltz shows herself in Dior creations.
A vermilion red dress, like in 1957 for a gala in Munich. It was not uncommon to see Brigitte Bardot around the legendary Dior boutique at 30 Avenue Montaigne.
The other favorite couturier of Brigitte Bardot is Pierre Balmain. With the Jolie Madame line , she relies on this outstanding couturier to embody some of these roles. As in 1956, in the film “La Mariee Est Trop Belle”.
But now, the thunderous 60s heralded the advent of a whole different Bardot. Figurehead of an emancipation which sent the codes of the bourgeoisie and the pieces that go with them waltz, Brigitte Bardot will carry new couturiers well in phase with their time – she becomes BB.
Having become a global phenomenon with the film “Et Dieu Créa la Femme” by Roger Vadim in 1956, Brigitte Bardot will embody rather than initiate the Youthquake.
This is how she will in turn feature couturiers of the caliber of Yves Saint Laurent, or Paco Rabanne. Paco Rabanne who, in 1966, tailor-made a dress for him from his favorite industrial material.
With Yves Saint Laurent, Bardot shares a taste for simple but emancipating pieces. The tuxedo , the pea coat and so many other icons of the house, Brigitte Bardot will make her iconic pieces. In 1968, she appears in Saint Laurent at the premiere of Shalako, in London.
But it is to the couturier Jean Bouquin that she entrusts her style from the mid-60s – a more groovy and hippie style that accompanies her from Saint Tropez to the cinema screens!
She writes: “The one who knew better than anyone how to dress me, to crumple me, to show off me, to disguise me, to strip me, to sexify me, to adorn me and to confuse me.” The unique, the only, the irreplaceable Jean Bouquin.
These sumptuous fabrics that he twirled around my body, goddess adornments, spider-like silks Jean covered me with “scarves-dresses”, Indian “mini-maxi”, Afghan chains, “pants- skirts”, in soft and tangy colors. He was the inventor of this extravagant so-called hippie fashion that I wore with so much joy, which stuck to my skin for so many years and which is now back in force in all the newspapers in my fashion!
The Vichy And Jacques Esterel
Speaking of its fashion precisely, it is to Brigitte Bardot and Jacques Esterel that we owe the enthronement of the gingham. And what an enthronement! Designated the most beautiful woman in the world, Brigitte Bardot has seen her actions be scrutinized and copied around the world.
Incarnation of the incandescent woman, free and out of category, her marriage in June 1959 to actor Jacques Charrier obviously made the front page of the press. But now, leaving the town hall that day, Bardot once again capsized the conventions with a very unconventional wedding dress.
Cut in a pink and white check print, topped with a small English lace Peter Pan collar, lined with a loose petticoat – Bardot’s wedding dress is then a gingham print dress. Until then reserved for tablecloths and other traditional table linens. Brigitte Bardot and Jacques Esterel have created a new aesthetic revolution.
The dress came from the workshops of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré of Jacques Esterel. He said that he wanted a piece as refined and daring as those of Marie-Antoinette. “I designed a dress that reminded me of the little shepherdesses of the 18th century.”
And if Bardot-style daring is now recognized around the world for having laid the foundations for a fashion and an attitude that has become the norm, it has not always been well received.
This Brigitte Bardot herself confided in one of them. “At the Elysee, among others, in 1967: invited by General de Gaulle to a reception of arts and letters, I arrived with my hair down, in trousers and military jacket of operetta with frogs. His wife couldn’t see me. “
Never mind, Brigitte Bardot had become BB all over the world. At the cinema, in 1963, in ‘Le Mépris’ by Jean-Luc Godard, she made the headband an icon of the 1960s. An icon of the modern style itself, since even today many of her pieces which passed to the era for stylistic daring have become timeless basics.
Above all for his street clothes that the Bardot style is anchored in the collective memory.
Bardot Style In The City
Thigh High Boots, Repetto And Bardot Collar
In the city surely more than on the screen, the Bardot style has established itself as the model to follow. Speaking of model precisely, before becoming one, Brigitte Bardot intended to become a principal dancer. Having trained as a ballet dancer at the Paris Opera, Brigitte Bardot inspired a ballerina who has become iconic.
It was at her request that Rose Repetto imagined the legendary BB ballerina, also called Cinderella. A ballerina that Bardot initially intended for her role in ‘Et Dieu Créa La Femme’, by Roger Vadim. A ballerina which is the first Repetto creation intended to be worn in everyday life. Bardot wore it well every day!
“She was the spark that started it. People wanted to have the same product as her. She has become a symbol of the emancipation of women. It broke with the codes of the time” declared Jean-Marc Gaucher, current CEO of Repetto.
In the same vein, it was Bardot’s adoration for wide-necked collars that imposed fashion, along with his name to this sensual line. Bardot collars were indeed the very attribute of the Bardot style – sensually revealing the neck and shoulders, they underlined the Bardot fiery without ever exaggerating it.
This is not the only attribute of the Bardot style to the city. On her, a simple t-shirt looked crazy. In fact, she was often seen simply dressed in jeans and a t-shirt – walking barefoot in the streets. A casual chic that finds, perhaps, an even more resounding echo in the thigh-high boots.
A true cultural phenomenon, Brigitte Bardot has popularized more than one piece. When Serge Gainsbourg wrote to her to see her perform the song Harley Davidson, he played it in thigh boots. But Bardot did not wait for Gainsbourg to put them on.
She appeared already dressed in these boots, real shoes of the female emancipation of the 60s! But it is really Brigitte Bardot’s Riviera style that has widely spread the idea of a woman who “doesn’t need anyone” to decide how much her body is exposed.
The Riviera Style At La Bardot
And this is what Brigitte Bardot left as a legacy to women around the world. Her Riviera style which, we can say, was sketched in 1953 in “Manina, La Fille Sans Voiles” by Willy Rozier.
Released in 1953, the film greatly contributed to democratizing the bikini. Because until then, on French, Italian or Spanish beaches, women saw themselves controlling the length of their swimsuits. Banned in 1949, it is gradually rehabilitated in the face of the enthusiasm caused by this film. Before Ursula Andress in “James Bond against Dr. No”, Brigitte Bardot had already imposed the bikini on the screen!
And in the city – accustomed to Saint Tropez since her childhood, Brigitte Bardot contributed to the advent of the small fishing village in high place of the jet-set. In 1956, she embodied all the ardor of the young girls of her time in “And God created woman”. The Riviera style was born.
Because, in the city as on screen, Brigitte Bardot has made corsair pants, sailor sweater and barefoot her iconic outfit for strolling through the Provençal village. By dint of stolen photos, or editorials, like the one made in Saint Tropez by Willy Rizzo, in 1958. Her eminently sensual silhouette in such simple pieces ended up making a School.
We can no longer imagine a holiday locker room without these essentials.
Finally, Brigitte Bardot remains a source of contemporary inspiration for fashion houses, girls and women around the world. Casual and casually glamorous, she embodies the emancipated woman in a mixture of sophistication, masculine-feminine and laissez-faire, all in all very French.
After the monastic allure of Chanel’s previous Couture collection, Virginie Viard says: “I wanted complexity, sophistication.”
The Chanel Haute Couture 2020 Collection, Opulence And Extravagance
“I was thinking of a punk princess coming out of the Palace at dawn. With a taffeta dress, voluminous hair, feathers and lots of jewelry. This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than by Gabrielle Chanel. Karl went to the Palace, he accompanied these very sophisticated women, very dressed, very eccentric too” announced Virginie Viard.
The Haute Couture woman Chanel 2020 has everything to turn the heads of esthetes. Cheerfully playing on the grammar of Coco and that of Karl Lagerfeld, the Haute Couture Chanel 2020 collection presented the icons of the house as injected with a high dose of exuberance. Starting with tweed.
And because Chanel can count on the exceptional address of all its artistic crafts, the meeting of the Lesage and Montex, Lemarié and Goossens embroidery workshops, gave birth to embroidered, beaded, and frankly mesmerizing tweeds of beauty!
The look of tweed, Coco’s favorite material, became more complex in sequins, rhinestones, precious stones and pearls which, if you look closely, dully revisit the Chanel look.
The legendary tailleur tweed then presented a jeweled breastplate by Goossens – a bit offbeat, but completely chic.
On cocktail dresses, it is the iconic camellias that prick themselves, this time, on these opulent pieces of jewels. Better still, the big evening dresses have fun with the basket cut for even more romanticism. And Virginie Viard says it herself: “For me, Haute Couture is romantic in essence. There is so much love in each of these silhouettes.”
We read that all the admiration that the workshops have for their mission in these pantsuits, stitched with diamond braids.
And then there is especially in this collection a staging of circumstance. A mini-film frozen by Michael Jansson, where the ornaments from the Haute Joaillerie collections come for the first time to complete Chanel silhouettes which are both grandiloquent and ultimately very, very stitching.
Virginie Viard has made Gabrielle Chanel’s past a chic and spiritual echo.
Who was Mademoiselle Chanel?
Virginie Viard wound up the thread, drew on the origins of Coco’s creativity, the purpose of her Haute Couture 2020 collection. As a child, Gabrielle Chanel, with her sisters, was dropped off by their father. The Abbey of Aubazine was the nerve center of the fashion of the future Coco Chanel. In addition to learning sewing, she rubs shoulders with the austerity of the sisters, the geometric term specific to abbeys, their soil, their stained glass. Where Chanel drew, once at the controls of her house, her legendary double C, her geometric grammar, and her stripped fashion.
We then find throughout this collection having paraded in an almost perfect reproduction of the abbey garden, all the term of Rue Cambon. Black and white. The austere but highly stylized silhouettes.
But also and above all, graphic patterns, once again inspired by stained glass – covered with matte and pastel glitter, this time! Because to the original language of Gabrielle, Virginie Viard added the touch of highly virtuoso houses which now belong to the group.
The house of Lesage has thus worked all the graceful lightness of this silhouette around a large cape of ivory taffeta on a navy blue taffeta dress – tiered in crepe and enhanced with a trompe-l’oeil belt entirely embroidered with sequins by the talents Lesage.
The Tweed Suit And The Chanel Bride
Last achievement of the seamstress, in 1954, the iconic tweed tailor who dressed the great Ladies, like Jackie Kennedy; this same tailor is now reworked in an icy beige. Closed with jewelry buttons set with stars or flowers – other grammars dear to Mademoiselle since Aubazine – it comes with a high or folded collar. Its beige tweed flirts with the country spirit, highlighted or not with fine braided cords.
The final grade? The Chanel bride, very simple, clearly echoes the monastic strictness of the abbesses – a bride in a Georgette crepe dress enhanced with a triple Claudine collar in tulle. Complete with a veil embroidered with wisteria branches; ultimate echo of Aubazine’s garden. Simplified but highly subtle – all the chic Chanel in short.
If the pandemic prevented the Haute Couture fashion shows, it nevertheless inspired at the Dior house a mini-film like an ode to the dreamed and revered couture of the house of Monsieur!
The Dior Haute Couture 2020 Collection: Hellenic Fairy Tale
The Dior women of the Haute Couture 2020 collection are nymphs, mermaids and other mystical creatures of nature who, undoubtedly, like to adorn themselves with the sublime. And this sublime, it is in the already dreamed and revered couture of the house of Monsieur that we find it!
Deprived of a fashion show, Maria Grazia Chuiri managed to bring into the world a collection as a hymn to the history of fashion, and to the essentially masterful craftsmanship of the house of Dior.
Because this is what the mini-film orchestrated by Maria Grazia Chuiri and Matteo Garrone says. A magical vision called Le Mythe Dior.
The iconic Italian filmmaker, who recently signed Pinocchio, has indeed relied on a historical section of fashion diffusion – fashion dolls, called models in the past, and the Fashion Theater.
First appearing during the time of Louis XIV, it is still the writer of the Enlightenment Louis-Sébastien Mercier who best describes their role in La Poupée de la Rue Saint-Honoré. This is all the more relevant since the house of Dior inaugurated in July 2020 its new flagship store, Rue Saint Honoré.
Louis-Sébastien Mercier therefore wrote about La Poupée on Rue Saint-Honoré: “He goes from Paris to London every month, and goes from there to spread his graces all over Europe, he goes to the North and to the Midday; he entered Constantinople and Petersburg; and the fold given by a French hand is repeated among all nations, humble observers of the taste of rue Saint-Honoré.”
These dolls dressed like this crossed the world and in the 1940s, it was Le Théâtre de la Mode which took up the torch. At the initiative of the Paris Syndicate of Couture, Le Théâtre de la Mode froze, in a traveling exhibition around the world, the craft and styles of Parisian Haute Couture.
In this mini-film directed by Matteo Garrone, to be viewed here, we are witnessing the wanderings of two porters carrying a trunk like the iconic house at 30 Avenue Montaigne. So taking the new Dior wonders beyond the somewhat mystical lands.
Real stitching pieces worn by fantasized muses – Dior’s iconic lines definitely sit with Les Belles from all horizons.
Thirty-seven fascinating and demanding silhouettes. Corolla coats with hand pleated and frayed will. A corolla strapless dress embroidered with a micro glitter shade. An anthracite gray tweed skirt suit with shawl collar.
“To imagine these thirty-seven fascinating silhouettes, Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to celebrate the work and the journey of five surreal, indomitable, magnificently inspiring figures: Lee Miller, Dora Maar, Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington and Jacqueline Lamba. Visionaries, these daring personalities have transcended their role as “muses” by asserting their vocation as artists with dazzling talents,” added the house of Dior.
So many Haute Couture 2020 pieces that sing an ode to the exceptional expertise of the house – beauty and sublime sponsor, whatever the weather!
A perfume paved the way for Pierre Balmain’s couture – a scent called Jolie Madame, which later gave its name to the 1952 haute couture collection.
1945. Paris was just emerging from the Second World War when Pierre Balmain founded his studio at 44 rue François 1st in Paris. Formerly of Lucien Lelong and Edward Molyneux, Balmain soon established himself as one of the masters of sewing. On October 12 of that same year, the designer presented his very first collection. The critics are unanimous: the sober but graphic use of fabrics mixing green, brown, red and lavender gives off a most attractive refinement. In 1949, Balmain published its very first perfume – called Jolie Madame, the designer captured “the scent of adventure for evenings of passion and enchantment.”
In reality, the Jolie Madame scent distilled the spooky spirit and the atmosphere of Parisian nights after the war. Its composition, the fragrance borrows directly from the image of female sensuality. It is the family of floral chypres which is associated with clove with orange blossom with jasmine or even patchouli. Intense notes for a fragrance synonymous with elegance and sophistication!
The success is such, the perfume is so right that in anticipation of Autumn/Winter 1952, Pierre Balmain names his collection ‘Jolie Madame’. From then on, the Balmain style became essential and, with it, embroidery, the shoulder pads and the waisted waist became the visual codes of a new woman. Many celebrities then favored the ‘Jolie Madame’ silhouettes. Little dresses with a twist and short veils for cocktails, the Parisian style was born at the same time as the golden age of couture made Paris shine!
This return to opulence, to the charm and elegance of noble materials because rare, precious because highly worked, is quickly defined as being “the new French style” by the mythical Gertrude Stein, in Vogue magazine. Just look at the ‘Jolie Madame’ ball gown from 1954. Cut from bright blue satin; the creamy opulence. On the couture side, the Balmain tailors appear straight, the houndstooth woven that has become emblematic. This iconic collection is full of historic pieces – the large ball gowns, coolie jackets, and ermine evening skirts are all pieces that enter the most legendary locker rooms. Soon, Balmain’s Pretty Madame developed like an active and somewhat insolent woman.
Between 1993 and July 2002, Oscar de la Renta took over the artistic direction of the house and, with the talent we all know, remained faithful to the essence of Pierre Balmain’s Jolie Madame couture. But at the dawn of the 2000s, the label entered a most desired modernity: with Christophe Decarnin then Olivier Rousteing, the Jolie Madame by Balmain became as sexy a woman as possible, sporting elegant and sumptuous pieces, cut with cord in luxurious and luxuriously embroidered materials.
And when we question the parentage between Olivier Rousteing and this emblematic collection of Pierre Balmain, often accusing the talent of uncontrolled opulence, the artistic director has something to say: “My Balmain wife is however a very French woman. The French style is not only that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. My version of France is the flamboyance of Versailles, the magic of the City of Lights. Poiret, Balmain, Dior, Balenciaga. They all worked on opulence. The Eiffel Tower is the opposite of minimalism! Likewise, the Jolie Madame style is the opposite of gloom.
An oblique canvas designed in 1967, has become one of the most sought-after this year. The Dior oblique canvas is a luxury and pop icon.
The Oblique Canvas and Marc Bohan
The designer at the head of the creation of the house of Dior for three decades was certainly a little less popular than Yves Saint Laurent or John Galliano, but the fact remains behind one of the most iconic paintings in the galaxy.
It was he who, in 1967, drew from the archives of the Dior house this canvas event. The oblique canvas takes its name from the collection of the same name, designed by Christian Dior for the Fall/Winter 1950-1951. But it only appeared in stores in 1969, during the Spring/Summer collection.
It was he who, in 1967, drew from the archives of the Dior house this canvas event. The oblique canvas takes its name from the collection of the same name, designed by Christian Dior for the Fall/Winter 1950-1951. But it only appeared in stores in 1969, during the Spring/Summer collection.
The Oblique Canvas: The Popular Icon
If it remained a few years aside in the drawers of the house, it is John Galliano who would have definitively introduced it into the world of pop culture. In reversing the scale of the values of the house, he printed everything on the Oblique canvas, on pieces in accordance with the time.
In the 2000s, it was everywhere – on suggestive advertisements, on the icon – the Saddle Bag, MTV clipped it on the legs of starlets of the time. The Oblique canvas reached the height of its notoriety on this advertisement Spring/Summer 2000 with Gisèle Bundchen.
Following, Maria Grazia Chuiri and Kim Jones were the ones who updated this emblematic print. The artistic director of the house did not hesitate to print on other icons – the Saddle Bag, but also the new Book Tote.
Kim Jones made it a key element of his streetwear couture – affixed by touch on sneakers or all-over on bags and suits, the Oblique canvas is again in the firmament of desire.
Symbol of craftsmanship constantly in keeping up with the times, the Oblique Dior canvas goes hand in hand with an obsession with Dior codes. Codes that, like Montaigne gray, caning and leopard, still have a lot to contribute to contemporary fashion.
Christian Dior was very superstitious, to the point of establishing in his couture and his company a set of talismans, both guides and good luck charms. There is lily of the valley, clover, star, bee and the number 8.
The Star And The 8 On The Road To Destiny Dior
Christian Dior is known to have been very superstitious, he especially knew how to listen to the signs that surrounded him. In 1919, at only 14 years old, Christian Dior also consulted his first clairvoyant, during a fair in Granville. “You will find yourself without money, but women will benefit you and it is through them that you will succeed. You will get big profits and you will have to make many crossings” she predicted.
In 1946, Christian Dior was about to meet Marcel Boussac. The King of cotton, as we then nicknamed him, wanted to suggest to Dior that he take over the artistic direction of the fashion house Philippe et Gaston. Christian Dior hesitated. The urge to get started was becoming more and more urgent. Three times the meeting was invoked – it is a childhood friend, Georges Vigouroux, crossed three times in a row in the streets of Paris, who knows Marcel Boussac, who tried to convince Dior to change his future.
This evening of April 18, 1946, the day before this important meeting, the legend writes: “while going up Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, Christian Dior hit an object on the ground and failed to fall, as if the object itself was trying to get his attention. He turns around, approaches, and finds that he has just been struck by a star, just outside the British Embassy. His childhood in Granville, in Normandy, awakened in him.
The next day, Christian Dior announced to Marcel Boussac that he will not take over the Philippe and Gaston house, but that he is ready to open a company in his name “where everything would be new from the state of mind and the staff down to the furniture and the room.” After endless discussions with the investor, Dior wins his dream, the Dior house will be born.
It takes place in the heart of the 8th arrondissement of Paris. At 30 Avenue Montaigne, “behind the small hotel at the start, a new eight-story building – eight workshops – with another building, also eight-story, doubled” notes Christian Dior in his memoirs. The 8 is indeed another very suggestive sign.
Chanel had the number 5, and Dior had the 8. It is surely the sensuality of this figure which, marking the infinite once overturned, pleased him so much. Finally, he made it a line – an aesthetic itself. His iconic silhouette which he describes as “clean and shapely, underlined throat, hollowed waist, accentuated hips” This is line 8.
It is therefore no coincidence to find today this figure that will amaze the eye and technology in the Dior Grand VIII, this exceptional watch marked by Dior’s expertise and grammar.
Lily of the Valley, The Clover And The Dior Bee, The Enchanted Garden
Dior was actually carrying a string of lucky charms. He never left without his bunch of charms – a sprig of dried lily of the valley, in an ornate reliquary, a four-leaf clover, the star found on Rue Saint-Honoré, two hearts, a piece of wood and another in gold.
From his favorite flower, lily of the valley, Dior would make it an essential part of his couture. First there is this dried strand which he sews at the hem of each of his creations. Then there is the lily of the valley which he wears in a buttonhole and the one he offers, every May 1st, to his “little hands” and his biggest customers.
Finally, there is lily of the valley in couture – lily of the valley which inspires a whole collection in Spring 1954. The Lily of the Valley Dress enters the annals of fashion history. A dress “at the same time young, flexible and simple” he says; a dress whose pockets of lily of the valley remind her of the “volume of the hat, volume of the bust, volume of the skirt. He loves thrush so much that he arranged for his florist to have it all year round at his disposal.
Dior’s enchanted garden is also the four-leaf clover. This symbol of luck, the designer gave him a considerable place in the choices of his destiny. A little less present in couture, it is the jeweler Victoire de Castellanne who sublimates its heritage in crazy and grandiloquent jewelry. Like a talisman, the clover is adorned here with a green stone, the Amazonite – a symbol of trust.
Finally, if the bee was so dear to Christian Dior, it was because it was, in his eyes, the quickest insect to symbolize the strength and vigor of its fashion house. “A small hive full to bursting, that is what my house was when I presented my first collection” notes Christian Dior in his memoirs. Its seamstresses, Dior nicknamed them “the bees” – conscientious and busy, they are capable of achieving exploits. Sometimes more than 400 or 500 hours of work to make a single dress.
Recently, it was for a sublime crazy coat imagined by Kim Jones that they once again demonstrated the full extent of their genius – 900 hours of embroidery to complete such a couture miracle. The quintessence of Dior know-how is in the hands of its ‘bees’.
If Kim Jones and Maria Grazia Chuiri manage today to create such a desirable fashion, it is because the founder of the house Dior had already envisioned it right. The flower woman, the Oblique, H, A lines and the Tulip line are now used for a sublime and cool seam.
La Femme-Fleur, Granville And Christian Dior’s New Look
Designer, costume designer for the theater, ballet or for Hollywood – Christian Dior, even before being the greatest fashion designer of the century, he already had in mind this ideal silhouette of the woman of the 20th century. It is that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, Dior looked at as one of the vital interests of restoring the woman to its beauty of yesteryear.
Where the horrors of two world wars had alienated romanticism and betrayed feminine elegance, Christian Dior intended to reset everything. February 12, 1947, Dior presented at the heart of 30 Avenue Montaigne its very first collection. 170 silhouettes advocating luxury and refinement, some of which were in leopard print.
This parade was divided into two themes. The first part, ‘Eight’, highlighted a wasp waist, shapely hips and a frankly exquisite silhouette. The second, entitled ‘Corolle’ was the one that went down in history. It was this theme that unveiled to the world the Dior manifesto: tight waist, bustier, and unprecedented surge of fabric footage. The tailor-bar is one of those silhouettes introduced in 1947.
“I drew women-flowers, soft shoulders, open busts, thin waists like vines and wide skirts like corollas” later affirmed by Christian Dior. Meanwhile, fashion magazines had already found a name – “Such a New Look” exclaimed Carmel Snow, editor in chief of American Vogue.
The April 1, 1947 issue, it reads: “If there could be a composite, mythical woman dressed by a mythical and composite designer, she would probably wear her skirt about 14 inches from the ground; He could have, for his working model, a flower: petals of padding and stiffening seen under the cut of the skirt. In other words, she would wear the New Look silhouette introduced by Dior in its first collection, the most emblematic example including the Bar suit.”
Dior lines drawn from these hours spent in his mother’s rose garden in Granville, Dior retained the elegance and poetry of flowers. With an eye worked on by architecture, Christian Dior also brings the corolla line into fashion – these flowers which will never cease to inspire his creation.
Here, Dior poses as a slayer of the figurehead of the 20s: the intrepid Garçonne, waist at the hips, elegant androgynous, embodied among others by Louise Brooks. Which bristled deeply Mademoiselle Chanel, who came out of his retirement for a last boost.
In 1956, Grace Kelly was seen with the tailor Bar. In doing so, she did not invent anything – the look of Christian Dior was already everywhere. Moreover, decades later, each talent in the artistic direction of the house worked like an absolute masterpiece.
John Galiano, with the most iconic version in 2008, for the Haute Couture collection. Raf Simons, too, who made the tailor Bar and his Corolle line a red thread, or recently Maria Grazia Chuiri. Three different visions, one icon with timeless elegance – that’s Dior luxury.
Oblique and Tulipe Chez Dior, Lines In Motion
Fall/Winter 1950-1951. The Oblique collection from the house of Dior introduced a couture complication that soon became legion. The designer was once again rethinking the silhouette around the movement. It must be said that Dior, then gallery owner, was one of the first to organize solo exhibitions of Salvador Dali in 1931, then that of Calder and Giacometto in 1932.
Little wonder then to see him introduce sewing this idea of the inverted line. The Oblique line further emphasizes the delicacy of women. Besides, this photo of Richard Avedon capturing the divine Dovima in the ‘Ambuscade’ set of the Oblique collection sums everything up! The panache and elegance of such audacity. Crazy subtlety and simplicity.
So, when Kim Jones takes up the principle for Dior Homme, during his Spring / Summer 2019 fashion show, we can see how it magnifies the iconic Dior costume. A flagship model now.
The Tulip line follows a slightly different principle. Born in 1953 as the combination of the profile line of previous seasons, it was one of Christian Dior’s favorites. The bust still blossomed, the skirts slightly swollen, it draws from its 18th century fascination the agreement of its silhouette. But soon, Christian Dior turned to more natural lines.
The Search for Natural, Lines H and A
The times have changed. Dior now wants to satisfy the wardrobe of elegant moderns – women are becoming more and more active, and the lines must follow.
“By stylizing the extent of certain models from the Spring/Summer 1955 collection and leaving the size games free, I isolated the letter A which itself succeeded the letter H of the previous one. But each collection is made up of a wide variety of theses and no letter of the alphabet – A, H, Y alone is capable of embodying them all, ”explained the designer.
Month accentuated, the line H releases “an entirely different line based on the length and the thinning of the bust: it is on the parallels which form the letter H, all in height, that dresses, suits and coats are built” by the very definition of Dior.
Meanwhile, Line A, offers the elongated bust and extended by basques, framed horizontally by a belt. Serving a free and refined look, line A was often cut around the addition of a knot which, by yoke, emphasized its horizontality.
Two lines so emblematic of luxury and the allure of the house of Dior that Maria Grazia Chuiri made them the standard of her fashion. Many of these exquisite and light toilets benefit from this couture created almost 65 years ago. What certifies the eternal beauty of Dior women.
The prints that were present since the creation of the house which, once again, have revolutionized fashion.
The Leopard, Mitzah Bricard And The Dior Woman
If the leopard appears harmless today, long ago it was considered vulgar and inadequate. But that was before. Before Dior exactly. The man behind the New Look revolution was also behind the reversal of the value placed on the leopard pattern. From the very beginning of the house, the leopard was part of the Dior grammar.
And these origins can easily be traced back to 1947. Because during his event parade, Christian Dior already introduced two leopard silhouettes. A sheath called ‘Jungle’ and an evening dress called ‘Africa’. Expression of feline grace, the print finds a particular echo in the Dior creation. Monsieur owes it in fact to his muse, Mitzah Bricard.
Met on his arrival in Paris, Mitzah Bricard quickly became a muse and a friend to Christian Dior. His style? Carmine lips , leopard coat or scarf. It is said that she used to tie a panther muslin on her wrist, in order to hide a scar. “The scarf is for women what ties are for men, and the way to tie them expresses your personality” wrote Christian Dior in his Little Fashion Dictionary.
In charge of hat collections for Dior, she was the one who imagined the iconic leopard hat in 1950. She also inspired the name of the perfume Miss Dior. One day she exclaimed, seeing Catherine Dior roll down: “Here, this is Miss Dior.”
Having become chic and suitable between the fingers and the impeccable style of the house of Dior, the leopard pattern becomes totemic. We found it everywhere, and it is in Haute Joaillerie that it worked to delight. Dressed in a coat of gold or diamonds, spotted with black lacquer or chocolate, the ring became an animal, mystical and feline, like the muse Mitzah. A wonder imagined by Victoire de Castellane for Dior, in 2013.
But beware, Christian Dior clarified all the same: the leopard print is only suitable for a sophisticated woman.
Pied-de-Poule, England and Dior
From his childhood in Granville, on the Normandy coast, Dior also retained this contact with neighboring Great Britain. Anglophile since childhood, he drew from the elegance he observed, some tics that he incorporated later in his sewing. One of them? The houndstooth, which has become synonymous with the house of Dior.
In 1938, while working for the Robert Piguet house, the young Christian signed a first – his houndstooth pattern dress, punctuated by a protruding lingerie petticoat. He called it ‘English Café’. This pattern, borrowed largely from British aristocrats, and in particular popularized by the Duke of Windsor – this pattern entered Dior grammar until it became one of the emblematic codes.
It’s simple, we find it everywhere! It’s that its architectural and sober geometry, this black and white graphics have everything to please Christian Dior. A simplicity and an elegance that he likes to insert here and there, engraved in the glass of the Miss Dior bottle, woven in a fabric, printed on Diorissimo cologne or on a Roger Vivier shoe designed for Dior in 1959.
It is especially this legendary coat, from the 1948 collection, that marked the spirits. And even today, the houndstooth has enough to look like a number of pieces signed by Dior.