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.