8 things you didn't know about Christian Dior

12 January 2016

1. Christian Dior the diplomat
Christian Dior was born in 1905 in the French city of Grandville and came from a relatively wealthy family as the second of five children. At his father’s insistence, Christian Dior attended the Ecole de Sciences Politiques in Paris. In the end, the talented young Christian left the prestigious school to follow his dreams. The arts were always his true calling! When he was very young he even sold his sketches on the street for 10 cents each!

2. He started out as an art collector
Christian Dior had his own art gallery back in 1928, which was set up by his father. His father only agreed to help if he didn't use the name of Dior. The gallery was in business for just a couple of years but Christian Dior had his hands on many famous works, including a painting of Pablo Picasso.

3. He designed dresses for the enemy
During the Second World War, Christian Dior worked for the house of Lucien Lelong, alongside Pierre Balmain. During that time, he designed dresses for the wives of German Nazi officers and French 'colloborateurs'. While Christian Dior was designing, his sister joined the Resistance.

4. Yves Saint Laurent 
Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s design assistant, at the age of 19. When Christian Dior died in 1957, The young Saint Laurent (21 at the time) became the artistic director of the house of Dior and stayed her until 1960, when he had to join the French army.

5. Superstitious
His favourite flower was the lily of the valley. Christian Dior used to sew a lilly into his garments, as he believed they would bring luck. Another superstitious habit of mr. Dior was that with every new collection, he would name one of the coats 'the Grandville' (his place of birth). 

6. Too much fabric?
During the Second World War there was a backlash against the designs of Dior. Christian Dior was known to use a lot of fabric, which was in great shortage during the time. After the Second World War, Christian Dior amazed the fashion world with his 'New Look', a voluminous design with a cinched waist and a round, circle skirt. 

7. What's in a name?
Back in 1949, Christian Dior was criticised for cheapening the Haute Couture market. He was the first designer to license his name to a range of luxury accessories like ties, furs, hosiery and handbags and Dior’s name quickly made its way around the world. In fact it was such a profitable move for the brand that it wasn’t long before all of the fashion houses followed suit.

8. Miss Dior
His biggest muse was his sister Catherine who had survived being held in a concentration camp. He named his perfume Miss Dior after his beloved sister.