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Pride Month Designer #2 - Christian Dior

Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town in Normandy, France in January 1905. When he was 5, the family moved to Paris. Christian would sell fashion sketches outside his home for about ten cents apiece. His father wanted him to become a Diplomat but he wanted to be involved in the arts.

Christian Dior in 1954 sitting at a desk
Christian Dior, 1954

In 1928 he left school when his father gave him money to open a small gallery. Unfortunately, the timing was poor as the Great Depression was about to hit. After three years, Dior was forced to close the gallery and search for work. He began selling his fashion sketches again which ended up getting him discovered by Robert Piquet, a French fashion designer at the time. Dior trained under Piquet and designed three of Piquet's collections. Dior stayed at Piquet's design house until he was called up for military service during World War II.

Women prisoners working at a German camp
Women working at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

Dior left the French Army in 1942 and joined the fashion house Lucien Lelong, who designed dresses and gowns for Nazi officers' wives. While Christian Dior was designing for the wives of Nazi officers, his sister, Catherine, a member of the French Resistance and was captured by the Gestapo and held prisoner at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Catherine was held there until 1945 when the camp was liberated.


Christian Dior's career continued to flourish. In 1946, Marcel Boussac who was a very successful entrepreneur, helped Dior launch his own fashion house. The new fashion house debuted with a new collection that contained 90 garments that were presented in outfits. Carmel Snow, Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar, called it the "New Look". In fact, the designs were clearly drawn from Edwardian designs. Dior Hired Pierre Cardin to be head of its tailoring atelier for the first three years that the fashion house existed. Cardin designed the 1947 Bar Suit for Dior.

The "New Look" brought Paris back as the center of fashion after World War II. Women were inspired and energized by Dior's designs after the end of the war and the end of the rationing.

Dior continued to succeed with his designs into the mid-1950s. In 1955 he hired 19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent to be his design assistant telling his mother that he intended to have him take over the business.


In 1957 while vacationing in Italy, Dior suffered his third, and final heart attack while playing a game of cards. He was survived by Jacques Benita, an African singer the last of a number of discreet male lovers. Dior's sister Catherine said that she never saw her brother as happy as he was when he was with Jacques Benita.








Vogue issued its first Christian Dior Sewing Pattern in 1959, five years after his death. The design was actually that of Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue Paris Original 1470











This 1963; Christian Dior Vogue 1205 is available at Sew Betty and Dot, and is a Suit and Blouse.with a Collarless jacket with button and loop closing with long sleeves. The flared skirt has unpressed inverted pleat and vertical welt pockets. The sleeveless tuck-in blouse buttons at back. The ensemble is finished with a Bow-trimmed belt.











Vogue 2957 a beautiful one-shoulder Evening Gown or Cocktail Dress by Dior. You can find this gorgeous pattern at Oldpatterns.com

Imagine walking into anevent wearing this! The 1970s weren't all bad.
















Candy Goeller Patterns on Ebay has Vogue 2607 with the daring front slit and a deep V neckline.






















Christian Dior Men's Wear for Women sewing pattern from the late 1970s. Vogue 1985.










In true Dior Glamour, Vogue 2127, an Evening or Cocktail-Length dress with one shoulder strap and jacket will always be in style. Finish it off with a wide shimmery belt.

This is one of three Dior patterns available at Alice Valentine's Patterns and Fabrics











Although Christian Dior died young, his legacy lives on to this day. He had a particular fashion sense. Very traditional but with some "tweaks".

Do you have a favorite Dior Design or pattern? Let us know by commenting below.



References








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Unknown member
Jun 11, 2023

Thought of your great post when I saw this in Honolulu — silly, but…


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Unknown member
Jun 11, 2023
Replying to

What a beautiful display! Thanks for thinking of me/my work!

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Unknown member
Jun 08, 2023

A great designer, although learning he designed for Nazi officers' wives was quite a shock!

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Unknown member
Jun 11, 2023
Replying to

and his sister was being held prisoner!! He may have had no choice though.

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Unknown member
Jun 08, 2023

So interesting…clearly he was as great a mentor as he was a designer.

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Unknown member
Jun 08, 2023

I love love love Dior! I was lucky enough to see a Dior exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2019. Gorgeous! Great article, Mary Beth!

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Unknown member
Jun 07, 2023

Great article ( I love Dior and learned a little more about him) and FABULOUS patterns!!

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