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October 08

Christian Dior

Christian Dior was the most influential fashion designer in the decades after WWII. By establishing Dior as an international brand, he changed the business model for designers who would follow, including Yves Saint-Laurent and John Galliano.

Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

1946: Dior Opens His Doors
Christian Dior opens his first fashion house in Paris, France
Before and during his years of service in the French military, Christian Dior—the man who helped revolutionize women’s fashions—was drawn to sketching hats and clothes. He worked for a couple of French design firms before opening his own shop, backed financially by a textile manufacturer named Marcel Boussac. Dior’s feminine designs—dubbed “The New Look” by one observer—captivated everybody who followed fashion trends.

In Paris and New York, editors of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue began to dress their models in his curvaceous creations. Dior’s dresses made women’s waists appear tiny in contrast to the voluminous skirt beneath. Quite often, the designer used hip padding, corsets, and other technical means to exaggerate and celebrate female curves. Decades later, Dior remains a big name in the fashion industry.
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