Dior, Christian

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Dior, Christian

Christian Dior (krēstyäN´ dē-ôr´), 1905–57, French fashion designer. He established his main house of couture in Paris (1946) and by 1958 had salons in 15 countries employing more than 2,000 people. Known particularly for the "New Look" of 1947 (a voluptuous style with narrow shoulders, constricted waist, emphasized bust, and long, wide skirt), his designs were nonfunctional but enormously popular as women abandoned wartime austerity in the post-World War II era. He created the short, waistless sack dress (early 1950s) and introduced the A-line dress (1956). His designs represented consistent classic elegance, stressing the feminine look. The Dior tradition of beautiful fabrics led to the creation of international merchandising labels for gloves, furs, and jewelry. An astute merchandiser, he also established ready-to-wear lines that were featured in his own boutiques, and he cultivated the fashion press. After the death of Dior, the firm continued under Yves St. Laurent, Marc Bohan, and Gianfranco Ferre.

See his autobiography (1957); biography by M.-F. Pochna (1994, tr. 1996, repr. 2008).

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