Sunday, August 18th
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"Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest."
Fashion designer Christian Dior, known as the ‘great dictator of style’ in the 1950’s, was born in Normandy, France. Dior initially studied Political Science and trained to become a diplomat. Despite the focus on his formal education and heavy pressure from his parents, Christian Dior opened an art gallery where he sold great Picassos and similar works. The gallery, which was initially subsidized by his father, closed when the major family business had financial troubles.
Unfazed, Dior continued in fashion by selling his sketches to haute couture houses, and he eventually found a much needed job as an assistant to Robert Piquet, one of the great legendary couturiers. Christian Dior was an officer in the French Army during World War II and when his service ended, Christian Dior joined the house of Lucien Lelong where he was one of the primary designers. While working with Lucien Lelong and before leaving the Lelong fashion house, Dior convinced the “King of Cotton” and French entrepreneur, Marcel Boussac that the people were ready for a new style. This meeting led to Boussac funding Dior’s own fashion house. His first solo collection, 'Corolle’ was dubbed, by then editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar, Carmel Snow, the "New Look". This look featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, a very full skirt with lots of personality and draping, a boned bodice, all exuding femininity. Dior created an opulent clothing style which contrasted the severe living conditions of post-war France and stated that the luxurious look was intended for ‘flower women’. What a welcomed change to the era!
After the war, he helped to re-establish Paris as the fashion capital of the world. Dior became the 1950’s last great dictator of style and collections throughout this decade each had a theme; classic suits, ballerina-length skirts, the H-line (1954), the A-line and Y-line (1955). Wanting to capitalize off the publicity of the “New Look” Dior and business partner Jaques Rouet decided to produce furs, hosiery, ties, and perfumes, along with clothing. These were all done in regionally separate production centers. Together the two pioneered license agreements and royalties in the fashion industry thus allowing the Christine Dior brand to quickly and efficiently spread around the globe.
Christian Dior's pursuit of perfectionism was commented on by Morrissey when he released a b-side single "Christian Dior". In the song, Morrissey compares Dior's wasting his whole life focused on fashion to Morrissey's own life wasted on music. According to Morrissey both artists ignored all the good things that life had to offer.