The Dior Bow, An Elegant Grammar

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.