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Katarína Danková
June 22, 2021, 8:38pm
Reading time: 6:39

Building a Fashion Empire With the Use of Magic. What Was Christian Dior Really Like?

If he hadn't met a fortune teller at the age of 14, the world-famous fashion designer could have been a diplomat, as his father wanted him to be.

Katarína Danková
June 22, 2021, 8:38pm
Reading time: 6:39
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Building a Fashion Empire With the Use of Magic. What Was Christian Dior Really Like?
Zdroj: instagram.com/nasimstories
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The name Christian Dior immediately evokes the French luxury fashion brand, which has been on the market since the beginning of times. He was responsible for many of today's fashion achievements: red lipstick for casual wear, various lengths of skirts or famous perfumes combining simplicity with elegance, but also the scandalous femme fatale scent.


In this article you'll read about:
  • That his career originally supposed to take a completely different direction.
  • How he got into fashion and who did he work for.
  • Why he dressed the Nazi wives during the War.
  • How a small studio turned into a worldwide fashion house.
  • Who did he name his first fragrance after and why.
  • Which revolutionary elements he contributed to post-war fashion.
  • Why he went to a fortune teller and how magic affected his life.
  • How his sexual orientation affected his family.
  • Why his death is unclear to this day.


Only a few know what was behind the creation of his famous French empire and what he had to sacrifice for it. The fashion giant founded his studio 75 years ago with the same name, from which the world famous brand Christian Dior has emerged.



One of the most famous fashion designers, who liberated the post-war women from boring and stereotypical uniforms, died at the age of 52. He would have celebrated his birthday at the beginning of the year.

Diplomat career gone wrong

In 1905, the future fashion marvel was born in the village of Granville, Normandy. Christian grew up in a wealthy environment because his father worked as a producer of fertilizers, which was one of the most lucrative jobs at the time. Although he had four other siblings, his father wanted to raise him as a diplomat. They moved to Paris and the young Christian Dior began studying the political science.


He completed his studies, but began to engage in a completely different activity. With the financial help of his father, he opened a small art gallery, which also exhibited the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob. His talent for art grew every day. Unfortunately, the Dior family has been affected by multiple tragedies. The death of his mother and older brother was followed by the complete collapse of his father's business. Christian was able to support his family. He shut the gallery  down and got a job.


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Príspevok, ktorý zdieľa Tell me Dior (@tell_me_dior)

First years in the fashion industry

In addition to working in the journal Figaro Illustre, making illustrations, he also sold his sketches. His talent was noticed by Swiss designer Robert Piguet, who hired him as his assistant. However, World War II changed everything and Christian was called up for military service.


After the war, he returned to Paris and began working alongside Pierre Balmain for the designer Lucien Long. Just like any other fashion studio at the time, the one in which young Dior worked had to adapt to the demand and dress the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators just to make a living.



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Príspevok, ktorý zdieľa BAZHENOVA Design (@bazhenova_design)

Own brand beginnings

December 16, 1946, Avenue Montaigne 30, Paris. This is the date of establishment and the address of a small but ambitious fashion brand. All this thanks to the magnate in the field of cotton fabric, Marcel Boussac, who was enchanted by Dior's work from the very start.


His debut came less than two months after the existence of the Dior fashion house. Although the first collection bore slightly confusing names "Huit" and "Corolle" (in translation: eight and the crown of a flower), they expressed the masterpiece of the time all the more symbolically. Carmela Snow, the editor of Harper's Bazaar magazine, renamed the collection with a simpler and more universal name "New Look". Thanks to this American woman, Dior also became known outside France.


At the time, his younger sister, Catherine, arrived in Paris after surviving a concentration camp, which she was thrown into to join the French resistance. It was in her honor that Christian named his first fragrance of the New Look collection - Miss Dior.


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Príspevok, ktorý zdieľa BRAND IS... (@nasimstories)

Revolutionary look at fashion

After the utter economic use of materials in the regime of war, what came after was proper vanity, literally. Dior's dresses had New Age written all over them, with the amount of fabric used, gold patches and hems. There's also been a change in the standard length of a dress. While during war, women wore shorter dresses and skirts, Christian, on the other hand, extended and widened the skirts. His clothes had narrow shoulders, a tapered waist, accentuated breasts, and a long, wide skirt. He emphasized femininity, classic elegance and beauty of every woman.


All the ladies around the world wanted to wear Dior. Thanks to fashion, he was able to turn even middle class women into "royalty". The rich ladies, on the other hand, were able to spend all their possessions on designer clothes. So Christian Dior kept coming up with new, breathtaking ideas. At that time, Paris became the epicenter of world fashion again.


Each of his new collections was a success. For ten years he dictated and created legendary fashion that lives on to this day. In the collections, he also focused on the lines of the female body and brought the H-line, the A-line and the Y-line of clothes to the world. His shows also surprised with innovation. The models played with the dresses on the catwalk and literally demonstrated the master's art in reality.



In order to make his fashion more accessible abroad, Christian left for the USA as a 43-year-old and opened his first foreign store, Dior New York Inc. Over the next few years, he expanded his business to another 15 countries around the world.


The revolutionary fashion was also popularized by a few famous and important celebrities. Dior was even invited to the royal court to present his collection to the British royal family. King George V allegedly forbade the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to wear the New Look, fearing they'd be setting an inappropriate example. Regardless, the name Dior became a synonym for style and elegance.


Sudden death with unclarified circumstances

It's almost as if the fashion giant felt that the end was near. When he was 50, he chose the 19-year-old Yves Saint Laurent as his successor. He worked for him as an assistant and he saw great talent in him. Two years later, and just a few months after the success with a title page in Time magazine - Dior suddenly passed away. It happened in the Italian spa in Montecatini, where he went to relax and gain new strength for the upcoming season.


The famous French designer never returned from his vacation. He died of a heart attack, but the background stories around his death vary. According to several sources, Dior loved food and had a heart attack during dinner when he began to choke on a fish bone. Others report a heart attack caused by playing cards or even a heart attack associated with strenuous sexual performance. Only a few people knew about his homosexual orientation. He never admitted it publicly. The exact circumstances of his death to this day remain unclear.


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Superstition as a base of success

Dior and superstitions? Absolutely and all the way. He had been accompanied by fortunetelling all his life. When he was 14, he met his first psychic. She told him his successful fate was bound to happen if he held on to women. This superstition of his was increasing with age. He had her determining show dates. As part of each one of his collections, a coat had to be named after his hometown, and at each show he had at least one model wearing a bouquet of his favorite flowers - lilies of the valley.


A revolutionary step

He was the first designer to have his brand licensed and, in addition to clothes, he also started producing accessories. Fur coats, gloves, hats, handbags, shoes, jewellery ... Unique and unparalleled Dior look tightened to the smallest details. However, this angered the French Chamber of Fashion, since Dior began to manufacture his products outside of France, which significantly reduced the cost of haute-couture. Paradoxically, it helped the Dior brand financially, and in a few years, other fashion houses took this step as well.


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Príspevok, ktorý zdieľa Tell me Dior (@tell_me_dior)

Neo-Nazi Niece

He loved his parents more than anything, despite the fact that his father forced him to study politics. He also had good relations with his younger sister Catherine. On the other hand, he did not have a very good relationship with his brother Raymond, who allegedly bullied him as a child. In adulthood, he was set back by his brother's homosexuality.


Christian Dior didn't have it easy with Raymond's daughter either. His niece Françoise became a supporter of Nazism and succumbed to its spiritual side. Maybe that's why Christian Dior decided to leave his fashion house in the hands of the young ambitious Yves Saint Laurent, who managed to keep his teacher's legacy even in the uncertain times.


Dior Mysticism 

Veštba mladého

The prophecy of the young Dior has affected him so much that he was surrounded by beautiful women all his life. They either created his fashion, gave her life, or bought and showed it. Thanks to women's fashion, he got his empire to the very top. At the time of his death, the Dior fashion house earned more than 20 million a year.


He also brought a bit of magic right into the heart of the fashion house Dior. Eight became a favorite number, which meant success. The fashion house itself was located in the eighth district of Paris in an eight-story building, housing eight workshops. The number 8 was also included in his models of women's clothing, albeit in the form of an hourglass.


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Príspevok, ktorý zdieľa Christian Dior 🖤 (@christiandiorhistory)


Christian Dior loved flowers. He literally grew up with them. In the garden of his native house, he had the opportunity to watch the birth of entire flowerbeds. This enchanted him so much that most of his designs had something to do with flowers. Definitely, also his perfumes.


Although the master of fashion died in Italy, his body was transported to Paris by Marcel Boussac's private plane. He stood by his side not only at the creation of the fashion house Dior, but also at his last farewell. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people came to Christian Dior's funeral, including all of his staff and many of his most famous clients.




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