Christian Dior (1905-1957) was born in Normandy, France.
Having studied political science, Dior began his design career selling sketches of his hat designs as these were being better received than his dress designs.
He was hired by Robert Piguet in 1938 and during the war served in the South of France.
Returning again to Paris in 1941 he worked for Lucien Lelong and in 1946 he was in a position to open his own house, backed by textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac.
His first fashion collection presented in 1947 was called “New Look” and featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a very full skirt.
The signature of Dior creations at this point was opulence.
Dior was often described as the last great dictator of style and in the 1950s produced fashion collections with themes throughout this time such as classic suits, ballerina-length skirts, the H-line in 1954, and A- and Y-lines in 1955.
With his partner Jaques Rouet, Dior pioneered the development of license agreements in the fashion business.
By 1948, he had arranged licensed production of furs, socks, ties, perfumes, and clothing in regionally separate production centers. This undoubtedly contributed to the swift spreading of the brand throughout the globe.
He hired Yves Saint Laurent in 1953 as an assistant. Following Dior’s sudden death in 1957 from a 3rd heart attack, Saint Laurent became the head designer and introduced the trapeze dress in his first fashion collection for the house.
Yves Saint Laurent was called for military duty in 1960 and at this point Marc Bohan became head designer.
Gianfranco Ferre in turn replaced him in 1989.
In 1996 John Galliano joined Dior to the applause of the fashion world.
Galliano was seen as perfect for Dior as his romantic, feminine looks matched those qualities adopted by Dior in the 1940’s.