The man Christian Dior
Christian Dior was born in 1905 in Granville, and grew up in a wealthy background, raised by a mother
passionate with the art of gardening, a passion that he already shared with her as a child.
In the 1920’s, influenced by his parents, he entered the institute of Political Sciences in Paris. But his real vocation was the architecture, as he confessed in his autobiography, which explains the very architectural side of his creations.
His artistic bent also drew him to music, but drawing and painting were the main centers of his interest. From 1928 to 1934, he run a little art gallery in Paris with his friend Jacques Bonjean.
The 1930’s are synonymous of loss for Christian Dior: his mother in 1931, his childhood house in 1932… But this is however during this decade that he established his first contacts with the fashion world. His friend the actor Jean Ozenne noticed his talent and encouraged him to sell some of his sketches. That way, when he came back from his military service, in 1935, he sold his first sketches of dresses and hats to Claude Saint-Cyr or to Madame Agnès. Then, he got hired as an illustrator for the Figaro, where he first met René Gruau.
In 1938, he got hired by the great couturier Robert Piguet as a designer. Mobilized by the war, he only came back in Paris in 1941, and got taken on the Lucien Lelong House of Couture, one of the biggest Parisian house of couture of the time.
In 1945, he met Marcel Boussac, who immediately believed in his talent, and who invested 68 million of francs, giving him a house of couture with his name, at the 30 avenue Montaigne, opened on December, 16th, 1946. On February, 12th, 1947, Christian Dior revolutionized fashion with his first show, and with the “New Look” collection.
He left for the USA in 1948 with the hope of conquering the American fashion market, and opened there the Christian Dior New York Inc. In 11 years, his business extended in 15 countries and guaranteed the job of more than 2000 people.
In October 1957, he died of a heart attack in Italy where he had undertaken a cure, whereas he was only 52. His remains are commemorated in the Callian cemetery, in the south of France.