With a legacy that spans seven decades, it’s impossible to ignore Christian Dior’s influence on the world. Founded in 1946, Dior’s first ever collection was shown in 1947 and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the years the brand has dressed some of the world’s most famous women, been host to some of the best designers in the business and has been represented by the most beautiful faces.
Whether it’s the spectacle of John Galliano’s fashion theatre or the bold modernism of Raf Simons, Dior has created so many iconic moments that it’s difficult to know where to start. But, in the interests of being helpful, informative and- let’s face it- downright entertaining, we’ve pored over the archives to bring you some of our favourite snapshots.
The New Look:
Dior literally changed the face of women’s fashion, creating a brand new silhouette with the help of the ‘Bar’ suit, a jacket and skirt combo that featured a round, sloping shoulder, nipped-in waist and midi-length skirt. The press coined the term ‘new look’ and it stuck. And was promptly copied by just about everybody.
Despite the initial mixed response from the critics, Dior’s 1947 collection proved to be a huge hit. It wasn’t long before the designer was dressing the most famous faces of the day, including Marlene Dietrich. Dior created all of the actress’s costumes for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright in 1950. Around the same time, the Dior name was given to a host of luxury goods, including neckties, hosiery, furs, handbags, jewellery and scarves. And so began the world domination.
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Speaking of Famous Faces…
While more A-list actresses than we can count have fronted campaigns for Dior- Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman- we were particularly excited by the news that Rihanna had been recruited as the label’s first ever black ambassador. While it’s hard to believe it took until 2015 (!) for diversity to hit Dior, we’re so glad RiRi was the one to implement it, shooting her first campaign in Versailles.
Speaking to MTV News at the time of her appointment, Rihanna said: “It feels fantastic. It’s such a big deal. For me, for my culture, for a lot of young girls of any colour. I think to be acknowledged by Dior, it really means a lot as a woman, to feel beautiful- to feel elegant and timeless.”
Ah, the age of the original supermodels. Linda, Christy, Naomi, Helena and co. They don’t even need surnames. And in the early 90s, when we were enjoying scrunchies and Spice Girl-inspired anything, they were dominating the Dior catwalk like the super humans they are. We couldn’t actually pick a favourite moment per se, so instead here’s a fabulous selection of images. Gianfranco Ferré was the designer at the helm at this time, where he reigned from 1989-1997.
The Reign of Galliano…
In 1996, John Galliano succeeded Gianfranco Ferré and, it’s safe to say, history was made. His combination of theatricality, exquisite craftsmanship and femininity ensured that each and every collection he produced was a fashion spectacle of the highest order. His friendships with the world’s most famous supermodels- most notably Kate Moss- and his support from the likes of Anna Wintour meant that there was no way fashion could ever ignore such a tour de force.
Aiming “to seduce,” Galliano reinvented the fashion show and, in many ways, reinvented Dior. Here are just a few of his blow-your-mind moments…
The Age of Raf:
Raf Simons was named as Dior’s new creative director following a tricky period of transition for the brand. Previously at Jil Sander, Raf’s minimalist aesthetic seemed a million miles away from Galliano’s Dior, but that didn’t stop him carving out his own vision, ultimately achieving phenomenal success with his very first collection.
For his debut offering, Raf had a mere eight weeks to produce an entire haute couture collection, which was documented in the film Dior and I (catch it on Netflix). Despite such limited time, Raf managed to wow the fashion crowd with his focus on 50s silhouettes, but with a modern edge. He reinvented the Bar jacket, put a twist on the ballgown and really made us all fall in love with his quieter, less dramatic form of luxury. This first show was presented in rooms entirely filled with flowers, itself creating a picture-perfect moment.
During his time at Dior, Raf also managed to spark red carpet hysteria, thanks to some familiar faces rocking his designs on the red carpet. Two of our faves have to be Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars, where she won (and also fell), and Emma Watson, in her is-it-a-dress-is-it-a-jumpsuit-i-don’t-know-but-i-want-it ensemble. So good.
Raf resigned in 2015, and we’re yet to hear who will be his replacement. Rumours suggest Sarah Burton is in the running, but we can only wait to find out. Meanwhile, we’ll content ourselves with this (rather brief) trip through the archives. And we’ll dream of Dior all day long.