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Who is Christian Dior?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Christian Dior was one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. During his career, he was responsible for the majority of French fashion design exports worldwide. Dior was born 21 January, 1905 in the seaside town of Granville in Normandy, France.

Christian Dior's family was wealthy and he was raised with four other siblings in a home with ocean views. When Christian was about five years old, the family moved to Paris, France, but still returned to the Normandy coast for summer vacations. Christian studied political science to please his parents even though he wanted to become an architect.

Although Christian Dior's parents had hoped their son would become a diplomat, his father did finance Christian's opening of an art gallery in 1928. The condition though was that the family name was not to be placed anywhere on the door. The art gallery was a success and it showcased the works of artists such as Pablo Picasso. Three years later, after the death of Dior's mother and brother and the decline of the family’s fertilizer business, the gallery had to be closed.

With the close of his art gallery, Christian Dior made a meager living selling his fashion sketches to haute couture houses. Next, he became an assistant to couturier, Robert Piguet. Dior made dresses for Nazi officer's wives during World War II. He worked for the fairly large fashion company owned by Lucien Lelong from 1940 to 1945 before switching to Marcel Boussac's business. Boussac, called The King of Cotton, owned a clothing company named Phillipe at Gaston.

Boussac helped finance The House of Dior in a mansion with eight employees. By 1947, Christian Dior's New Look was heavily influencing fashion worldwide. The term, New Look, was given to his designs after many comments that Dior's dresses had a new look to them that was unlike the usual style of the time. Dior's fresh dress look was an appealing, form-fitting hourglass shape and he was known as the most important designer of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Christian Dior became successful and wealthy as a world renowned fashion designer. He died in Italy in 1957 after choking on a fishbone and then having a heart attack. Yves Saint Laurent, Dior's assistant of four years, became the head designer at Dior after Christian's death.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon157746 — On Mar 04, 2011

You are the only one to assert that he indeed made dresses for the wives of nazis. To my knowledge, this has not been proven. If you have any evidence of that, please bring it forward because at this point, this is what everybody is looking for.

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