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The ups and downs of fashion house Christian Dior!

Dior 30 Montaigne front house

Christian Dior, or Dior for short, is undoubtedly one of the largest and most prestigious fashion houses in the world today. Like other fashion brands, Dior has experienced many ups and downs. However, after the low notes, the company got up strong and full of power thanks to generations of talented and creative designers. Creative directors include Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Bill Gaytten, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

From a company with 85 employees and an investment of 6 million francs, Dior is now a leading fashion brand in the world. As of 2011, company profits amounted to 1,279 million euros with about 84,000 employees and more than 600 branches globally.

Dior’s history will help you understand why the man who founded the brand was once recognized as one of the greatest fashion figures in history.

The romantic Christian Dior

Christian Dior was born on January 21, 1905, in the town of Granville, France. This is a famous fashion resort town in Normandy.

When he was growing up, he dreamed of studying art and architecture. However, according to his parent’s wishes, he attended the École Libre des Sciences Politiques, a school of political science. Because the passion for art is always in Christian Dior, his friends are mainly artists, writers, painters such as Maurice Sachs, Jean Ozenne (illustrator for Vogue magazine), and Christian Bérard.

Christian Dior
Christian Dior

However, his family continuously encountered an incident. Mother died, the brother had to be treated for mental illness, family went bankrupt. This causes Christian Dior to suffer from severe depression. Hunger life leads to tuberculosis. Friends have gathered money to help him go to Font-Romeu for medical treatment.

After that, Christian Dior learned embroidery and weaving techniques in the Balearic Islands. He returned to Paris, embarked on fashion design at the age of 30. Swiss fashion designer Robert Piguet purchased his designs and invited him to work for their company. This is the first design work of Christian Dior.

Set up his own fashion house

World War II broke out. Christian Dior joins the military. After the Franco-German armistice treaty, he was discharged from the military and returned to live with his father and younger sister in Callian, southeastern France. Robert Piguet invited him back to work, but he hesitated for a long time so Antonio del Castillo took his place. In 1942, Christian Dior started working for another high fashion house, Lucien Lelong, together with Pierre Balmain.

Dior Fashion Company was established on 16–12–1946 at a residence at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris. However, today, Dior takes 1947 as the year of the brand’s official launch because that was the year Dior launched the first collection.

At that time, Dior was financially supported by the sponsor Marcel Boussac, becoming part of the textile business run by Marcel Boussac. With an initial capital of around 6 million francs and 85 employees, this is a vain project for Boussac and a subsidiary of Boussac Saint-Freres S.A. Although Boussac is famous for being a tough boss, Christian Dior with his outstanding design talent negotiated a desirable salary and a number of other perks such as becoming a manager in legal, 1/3 of the company’s profit before tax.

The NEW LOOK period

On 12–2–1947, Dior launched its first collection: Spring-Summer 1947. The collection has entered the history of fashion as a revolution. It was called New Look after Harper’s Bazaar’s Editor-in-Chief at that time, Carmel Snow, was full of praise and exclaimed, “What a new look!”.

The New Look look is both classic and modern. Classic in the way of the tight waist and puffy dress, which is a familiar design in the corset period. Modern time for using a Bar Jacket, a variation from menswear.

In the post-war period, fabrics were very limited. But Christian Dior uses up to 20 meters of luxury fabric for his creations. The collection became extremely popular, and the puffy skirt influenced fashion as well as other designers in the 1950s.

New Look is greeted by Western Europe as a shower after drought days and is very popular with wealthy fashionable women, such as Princess Margaret of England.

Princess in DIOR dress
Princess in DIOR dress

Business expansion in the 1950s

Dior expanded its business in late 1949 with the opening of a Christian Dior boutique in New York.

Dior fashion shoe line was born in 1953 with the help of Roger Vivier, a French shoe designer.

The company continued to establish and develop branches in Mexico, Cuba, Canada and Italy at the end of 1953. As it progressed, Dior faced even more counterfeiting.

In the mid-1950s, Dior had become a prestigious fashion empire. Dior’s first British fashion store opened in 1954 at 9 Conduit Street. Dior launched many very successful fashion lines between 1954 and 1957. However, there was no fashion line as strong as the first New Look.

Dior’s first lipstick line was introduced to the market in 1955. Celebrating the company’s tenth anniversary, Dior has sold 100,000 suits.

On 24–10–1957, Christian Dior died of a heart attack. Christian Dior’s outstanding creative fashion talent has earned him recognition as one of the greatest fashion figures in history.

During its development, Dior has always reflected the boom of the market of high-end products from fashion accessories, watches, jewelry to cosmetics and perfumes. In the 1980s, the business development model in the form of a franchise went too far, with more than 150 franchise contracts, equivalent to 95% of Dior’s sales.

Once merged into the LVMH group, Dior revived strongly thanks to tighter management. The Dior brand now has hundreds of affiliates around the world, with sales growing steadily (5% annually) over the past decade to now reaching almost $ 2 billion annually. Dior was also one of the first fashion brands, having traveled around the world before the concept of globalization came into being.

When born, Christian Dior once uttered a saying: Fashion is not only to honor beauty but also to promote the unmistakable style of each woman.


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