One of the most popular and well known names in fashion, Christian Dior, has been a staple of the fashion scene for well over 60 years now. The brand has had a great reputation since its inception, and it has never really failed to wow customers with either the quality of products or with the style of those products. The history and the road to success is a long one and it is well worth learning in order to see just how the brand people know and love originally came to be.
Born in France in 1905, Dior had always had a desire to be an artist, even though his family had wanted him to do something sensible, such as become a diplomat. He came from a wealthy family, and had he followed that route, it might well have been a possibility. He did not want that life though, and instead began drawing and selling his fashion sketches. His father eventually gave him money so that he could open up an art gallery. He seemed happy selling art, and did so from 1928 to the early 1930s. The depression, along with the death of his mother and the failure of his father's fertilizer business, caused the gallery to close. This was a hard time for Dior.
In 1937, he was working for Robert Piguet, and was given the chance to design clothing for three of the Piguet collections. The designs were quite popular, and he worked at the company until WWII. He went into the service for several years, and when he came out, he started work at another fashion house called Lucien Lelong. During that time, they actually made dresses specifically for the wives of Nazi officers. His sister at this time was a part of the French Resistance.
After the end of the war, Dior opened his own fashion house along with the help of Marcel Boussac, and he released his first line in 1947. His designs were different from so many of the other designers of the time that they were instantly recognizable and instantly popular. The fashions took France by storm, and they soon begin exporting to other countries, including the United States, where they started Christian Dior-New York. In addition Christian Dior Perfumes started in NYC.
Just a few short years after starting, Christian Dior products accounted for 75% of the fashion exports from France. The popularity continued to grow, and it grew quickly. He was creating wardrobes for Hollywood, including Marlene Dietrich in Stage Fright, and many models started to wear Dior clothing. This help to strenthen the popularity of the brand and of Christian Dior even further.
They soon created subdivisions within the company to handle things such as the gloves and the stockings. Soon, many more lines were streaming forth from the fashion house. The expansion continued, and it seemed as though nothing could stop Dior. However, Dior passed away in 1957, and it was unclear just what would happen to the company and the fashions. After all, he was a driving force behind the look of the products that came out of the company.
Naturally, the death of the lead designer sent the house into panic mode, and there was a very brief time where the general manager, Jacques Rouet, considered shutting the company down. Of course, by now it was a large international operation, and that was simply not possible. Instead, they promoted Yves Saint-Laurent to the position of Artistic Director.
This proved to be a very good move. The designer, then only 21 years old, was one of Dior's favorites, and was hand chosen for the job of Head Assistant. Saint-Laurent was the ideal solution to take over for Dior, as the clothes he created in the beginning had the same style and the same care and attention to detail. This made him very popular, but this popularity only lasted for a few short years. Eventually, his designs became a bit too esoteric for his own good. Designer Marc Bohan replaced him in 1960, but Saint-Laurent's house continues to be a rival today.
Even though the founder has been gone for more than four decades, the vision and the goals are all still the same for Christian Dior. Currently, LVMH holds a majority of the shares of the company.