Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of France. His family, whose fortune was derived from the manufacture of fertilizer, had hopes he would become a diplomat, but Dioronly wished to be involved in mostly fashion, but sketching as well. To make money, he sold his fashion sketches outside his house for about 10 cents each. After leaving school he received money fromhis father so that in 1928 he could open a small art gallery, where he sold art by the likes of Pablo Picasso.
After a family financial disaster that resulted in his father losing his business,Christian Dior was forced to close the gallery. From the 1930s to the 1940s he worked with Robert Piguet until being called up for military service. In 1942, having left the Army, Dior joined the fashionhouse of Lucien Lelong, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers. For the duration of World War II, Christian Dior dressed the wives of the Nazi officers and French collaborators. On 16December 1946 Dior founded his own fashion house, backed by Marcel Boussac, the cotton-fabric magnate.
The actual name of the line of his first collection, presented in early 1947, was Corolle(literally the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English), but the phrase New Look was coined for it by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar. Dior's designs were morevoluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric. He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes; Dior is quoted as saying"I have designed flower women." His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flareout from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form. The hem of the skirt was very flattering on the calves and ankles, creating a beautiful silhouette. Initially, women protested because...
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