Born in the seaside town of Granville on the coast of Normandy in 1905, Christian Dior was the son of a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer. When Dior was five, his family moved to Paris where Dior developed an interest in art, selling sketches on the street. After graduating high school, Dior’s father bought him a small art gallery, where he and a friend sold work by artists including Pablo Picasso. The Great Depression of 1929 devastated the Dior family as Christian lost both his mother and brother and his father’s business went under. Dior was forced to close his art gallery and work with fashion designer Robert Piguet until he was drafted by the military in 1940.
When he returned to France in 1942, he began working for Lucien Long alongside Pierre Balmain as the brand's primary designers. Dior eventually found backing for his own brand in the form of Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate. In 1947, the house of Christian Dior showed its first collection.
Christian Dior’s debut collection consisted of 90 looks and featured what would be known as the “New Look”. The look consisted of a calf-length full skirt, cinched waist and a full bust. The look would set the tone for womenswear for many years to come.
When Christian Dior suffered a fatal heart attack in 1957, his protege, a 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent was appointed artistic director of Dior’s house. His first Dior collection was a success, but the following collections were made with consumers far younger than Dior’s primary audience in mind. Sales plummeted and, as quickly as he ascended, Saint Laurent was let go by Dior.
Saint Laurent was replaced by Marc Bohan. His new silhouette, the “Slim Look”, a modern take on Dior’s iconic “New Look”, proved to be a success. Bohan also established the Christian Dior Monsieur line in 1970. However the line wasn’t quite a success and—until the 21st century—Dior’s most popular men’s items were fragrances.
In 2000, Dior welcomed a new men’s designer named Hedi Slimane. Slimane instantly brought a new energy to the brand, renaming the men’s line Dior Homme. It was under this umbrella that Slimane would introduce the skinny suit and skinny jeans that would define Slimane’s aesthetic and become influential pieces in the wider men’s market. Reportedly, Slimane’s new slim look caused fashion industry legend Karl Lagerfeld to lose a substantial amount of weight in order to fit into Slimane’s designs.
Under Slimane, Dior Homme was massively successful, with his tenure coming to an end in 2007 after contract disputes. Ultimately Slimane was replaced by Kris Van Assche. While initially unfocused, Van Assche’s vision for Dior slowly became clearer. He modified the Slimane-era suit and gave it more volume. Van Assche’s intrests in music genres such as New Wave and hardcore found its way into his Dior Homme collections as well.
Dior Homme carried on this way for 11 years until 2018, with Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones replacing Kris Van Assche. Since becoming men’s artistic director, Jones has raised the cultural presence of Dior Homme, including changing the name of Dior Homme to Dior Men. Never shy about asking for help or taking inspiration from other artists, Jones brought on Yoon Ahn of Ambush to design Dior’s jewelry and Matthew Williams of Alyx to add his signature hardware to Dior pieces. Iconic items, such as the Saddle Bag, have been remixed and tweaked in order to inject them with these new collaborative flourishes. Jones' love of streetwear has also carried over into his work at Dior, bringing in more graphic heavy pieces than ever before.
With an exclusive, highly coveted Jordan Brand collaboration in the books and the brand’s mainline pieces covering every celebrity, Dior Homme is clearly out to become the brand of the 2020s.
Where does Dior’s name come from?
The brand Dior gets its name from its founder, Christian Dior.
Can Dior be purchased online?
Dior can be purchased from its web store as well as on Grailed.
Is Dior a luxury brand.
Yes, Dior is a luxury brand.