History of the House
Discover the richness of the House through the work of Christian Dior and his six successors.
Birth of Christian Dior
Childhood in Granville
Christian Dior is born in Granville, Normandy, on January 21, to Alexandre Louis Maurice Dior and Marie-Madeleine Dior (née Martin), the second of five children. The family is well off thanks to its fertilizer and chemicals manufacturing business founded in 1832.
Christian Dior at 1 year of age, January 1906.
The Dior family settles in Les Rhumbs villa, in the heights of Granville.
The Dior family moves to the 16th arrondissement of Paris, keeping the Les Rhumbs villa for holidays and family gatherings.
Inside the apartment of the Dior family, 9, rue Louis-David, circa 1925
During the 1920s, Christian Dior frequents the cultural milieu in Paris and makes friends with the artists of the time.
Galerie Jacques Bonjean
Christian Dior opens an art gallery with his friend Jacques Bonjean at 34, rue La Boétie. “Our ambition,” he said in 1956, “was to have shows there centered on the masters we admired most: Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and Dufy, and the painters we knew personally and already held in high esteem: Christian Bérard, Salvador Dalí, Max Jacob, the Berman brothers…” In 1932, he enters into a partnership with Pierre Colle to open another gallery at 29, rue Cambacérès. In 1933, they hold an exhibition dedicated to Surrealism.
Death of Madeleine Dior
Dior’s mother dies. Due to bad investments, his father’s business collapses.
Obituary notice of Madeleine Dior, 4 May 1931.
Christian Dior illustrator
Christian Dior starts to sell his drawings to milliners and couture houses including Jean Patou, Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci, Maggy Rouff, Worth, Balenciaga, Molyneux, and Paquin. He also works as an illustrator for Le Figaro newspaper and Jardin des modes magazine.
Christian Dior (right) at Robert Piguet, circa 1939. Photograph by Willy Maywald.
Mobilization in the army
Christian Dior is called up for military service. Demobilized the following year, he joins his father and sister in Callian, in the south of France.
Menu designed by Christian Dior during his mobilization period, 2 January 1940.
Beginning at Lucien Lelong
Christian Dior is employed by the House of Lucien Lelong as a designer.
His sister Catherine is denounced as a résistante (member of the French Resistance) and deported to Ravensbrück, from which she is liberated in 1945.
Creation of Christian Dior's fashion house
Creation of Christian Dior's fashion house
Christian Dior and the industrialist Marcel Boussac join forces to create the Christian Dior couture house. On December 16, the couture house opens at 30 Avenue Montaigne, with three ateliers and a staff of 85 people.
Fashion show for the first Haute Couture collection, in the salons of 30 Avenue Montaigne, 12 February 1947.
The first collection, Spring-Summer 1947, is presented on February 12, in the salons of 30 Avenue Montaigne. Dior names his new lines Corolle and En 8. Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, declares: “My dear Christian, your dresses have such a New Look!”
Press release of the first collection, Spring-Summer 1947.
Parfums Christian Dior
On March 4, Parfums Christian Dior is founded and Dior’s childhood friend, Serge Heftler-Louiche, is appointed director. The first perfume, Miss Dior, is launched in December, 1947.
On 9 September 1947, in Dallas, Christian Dior being rewarded the Fashion Oscar by Stanley Marcus.
Christian Dior-New York
Christian Dior-New York opens on Fifth Avenue with an exclusive collection of luxury ready-to-wear and accessories created on the premises. Parfums Christian Dior New York Inc. is launched the same year.
Christian Dior preparing the first collection for Christian Dior-New York, Spring-Summer 1949. ELLE magazine, 27 June 1949.
Christian Dior buys the Moulin du Coudret, an old mill at Milly-la-Forêt near Paris, where he can relax between collections.
Christian Dior in Milly-la-Forêt, 1949.
Launch of Diorama's perfume
Diorama perfume, 1949.
Legion of Honor
Christian Dior is awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contribution to the textile industry and fashion craftsmanship.
Christian Dior being awarded the Legion of Honor by James de Coquet, senior reporter at Le Figaro, in his estate in Milly-la-Forêt, 9 February 1950.
Show in London
On April 26, he presents his collection to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and her daughter Princess Margaret at the French embassy in London.
Presentation of Haute Couture collection Spring-Summer 1940 at the Savoy Hotel in London, 25 April 1950.
La Colle Noire
Christian Dior buys the Château de La Colle Noire in Montauroux, in the South of France.
Publication of Je suis couturier (Talking about fashion)
The Dior company has now grown to a staff of 900 people. Following a series of pieces in the magazine ELLE in the summer of 1951, Christian Dior publishes his first book, Je Suis Couturier (published in English as Talking about Fashion in 1954).
Excerpt from an article published in ELLE magazine, 18 August 1951. A sectional view of the townhouse at the corner of avenue Montaigne and rue François Ier shows the organization of the fashion house.
Christian Dior London
Christian Dior (C.D.) Models Ltd. is established in London.
The first Christian Dior boutique in Latin America opens in Caracas, Venezuela. An almost exact replica of 30 Avenue Montaigne, it is staffed by personnel trained in France to produce the Parisian collections made-to-measure for the new clientele.
Presentation brochure for the house of Christian Dior: companies and associated firms worldwide, 1953.
The Christian Dior-Delman company is created, producing custom-made shoes designed by Roger Vivier. Later, in 1958, the brand is replaced by 'Christian Dior by Roger Vivier'.
Moving in on boulevard Jules-Sandeau
Christian Dior moves into an apartment on boulevard Jules-Sandeau, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Christian Dior in his private mansion at 7, boulevard Jules-Sandeau, 1957.
Publication of Christian Dior's Little Dictionary of Fashion
Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion is published in the United States and Great Britain.
Fashion show at Blenheim Palace
On November 3, the Duchess of Marlborough holds a Christian Dior show at Blenheim Palace in the presence of Princess Margaret to raise money for the British Red Cross. With more than 1,600 guests, it establishes the House’s name amid the British aristocracy.
Presentation of the Fall-Winter 1954 collection at Blenheim palace. Footage supplied by British Pathé.
Opening of the boutique
Opening of the boutique on the corner of avenue Montaigne and rue François 1er, decorated by Victor Grandpierre. Parfums Christian Dior launches its first lipstick boxed sets in 22 different shades.
On August 3, Christian Dior gives a lecture followed by a fashion show at the Sorbonne's Grand Amphithéâtre in Paris.
This famous photograph by Willy Maywald with model Renée wearing the Bar suit (Spring-Summer 1947 Haute Couture collection) was taken on the occasion of a lecture given by Christian Dior at the Sorbonne in 1955.
Publication of Dior by Dior
Christian Dior publishes his autobiography, Dior by Dior, which will be translated into several languages.
Dior by Dior, published by Amiot-Dumont Editions, 1958.
Launch of Diorissimo perfume, with lily of the valley as its principal note.
On March 4, Christian Dior appears on the cover of Time magazine.
Cover of Time magazine, 4 March 1957.
Death of Christian Dior
Christian Dior dies of a heart attack in Montecatini, Italy, during the night of October 24. In accordance with his wishes, Yves Saint Laurent, his first assistant at the studio since 1955, is appointed Creative Director of the fashion house.
A report was broadcast on 30 October 1957 after Christian Dior's death.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent
In 1955, aged only 19, Yves Saint Laurent was named assistant to Christian Dior. Following the sudden passing of the founding couturier in October 1957, he became the Creative Director of the House. His emblematic first collection, Trapèze, freed the body and instilled a spirit of emancipation, encapsulating the youth of the 1960s. His bold designs were inspired, among other things, by the Beatniks, for the Dior Fall-Winter 1960 collection. An avant-garde vision of the fashion world.
Yves Saint Laurent, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
The first collection by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior
Yves Saint Laurent presents his first collection on January 30. It features the innovative Trapèze line, which marks a turning point in the history of the house of Dior.
A page from the collection chart for the Spring-Summer 1958 collection. This document lists the looks by typology according to the activity and the time of the day. The look is identified thanks to a sketch, its atelier, its fabric, its name, and the name of the model who will be presenting it.
In November, Marc Bohan is appointed as the new Creative Director of Christian Dior.
A designer for Jean Patou, then assistant designer to Robert Piguet, Marc Bohan joined the House of Dior in 1958 as Creative Director of the London subsidiary. In 1960, he became Creative Director of the Parisian couture house, for which he created the Slim Look, reflecting contemporary ideas of femininity. Fascinated by the world of art, and particularly the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock, Marc Bohan designed modern silhouettes, cut with an elegant simplicity, for Dior over almost 30 years – a unique style embraced by many Hollywood stars.
Marc Bohan, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
Eau Sauvage, the first Dior eau de toilette for men, is created by Edmond Roudnitska, revolutionizing masculine fragrances.
Eau Sauvage eau de toilette, 1966.
Serge Lutens becomes Creative and Image Director of Dior Makeup, where he stays for 12 years before being replaced by Tyen in 1980.
Philippe Guibourgé creates Miss Dior, the couture house's ready-to-wear line.
On 8 November, Princess Grace of Monaco opens the first Baby Dior boutique at 28, avenue Montaigne.
Inauguration of the Baby Dior boutique, in the presence of Princess Grace de Monaco accompanied by Marc Bohan, 8 November 1967. © INA.
Frédéric Castet, head of the tailoring workshop since 1953, becomes Creative Director of the Haute Fourrure collections.
Christian Dior Monsieur
Marc Bohan creates the Christian Dior Monsieur line. It is later directed by Christian Benais, then Gérard Penneroux, before Dominique Morlotti takes the reins in 1983.
Creation of the perfume Poison. Isabelle Adjani is guest of honor at a grand ball held at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte to celebrate its launch.
40th anniversary of the house of Christian Dior
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the House of Christian Dior, a large retrospective exhibition is organized at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, inaugurated by President François Mitterrand.
Gianfranco Ferré becomes Creative Director of Dior women’s collections
Driven by a postmodern vision of fashion, the Italian designer celebrated Dior codes and gave haute couture a new lease on life through the architectural elegance of his suits and the opulence of grand evening dresses. A passionate art lover, like Christian Dior, he was inspired by the palette of Paul Cézanne for his Fall-Winter 1995-1996 haute couture collection, coinciding with the painter’s retrospective at the Grand Palais.
Gianfranco Ferré, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
Patrick Lavoix becomes Creative Director of Christian Dior Monsieur.
On October 14, John Galliano replaces Gianfranco Ferré.
A British designer with a rock ’n’ roll spirit, known for his sense of extravagance, John Galliano reinvented the Dior haute couture tradition in 1996 by fusing it with his dreamlike imagination. His hybrid vision combined eclectic sources of inspiration, highlighting the cultural and artisanal riches of the world through the virtuosic skills of the Dior ateliers. Enhanced by spectacular scenography, each of his shows was conceived as a voyage into the extraordinary.
John Galliano, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
In 1995, during an official visit to Paris, Bernadette Chirac presents Diana, Princess of Wales, with a brand-new Dior bag, renamed, in her honor, the Lady Dior. For the 50th anniversary of the House of Dior, a large exhibition is organized at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Princess Diana wears the first Dior dress created by John Galliano to the launch party in December 1996.
Christian Dior museum
The Musée Christian Dior opens in Christian Dior’s childhood home, Les Rhumbs, in Granville, Normandy.
Les Rhumbs villa, Christian Dior's childhood home, is today the Musée Christian Dior.
Dior Joaillerie is founded, with Victoire de Castellane as Creative Director.
Launch of the perfume J’adore
Hedi Slimane becomes Creative Director of Christian Dior Monsieur and changes its name to Dior Homme.
François Demachy becomes Perfumer-Creator of the House of Dior.
Kris Van Assche follows Hedi Slimane as Creative Director of Dior Homme.
John Galliano leaves Dior and is replaced by assistant designer Bill Gaytten, who designs the next four collections.
Raf Simons becomes Creative Director of the Dior women’s collections.
The Belgian designer, a graduate of the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, reworked the timeless codes of Dior with his refined, minimalist signature. Through his collections, he reinterpreted Christian Dior’s woman-flower with her gracious curves, metamorphosing her into an architectural silhouette, or masterfully revisiting the New Look as a pantsuit, reflecting his resolutely contemporary spirit.
Raf Simons, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
Peter Philips becomes Creative and Image Director of Dior Makeup.
Peter Philips' portrait as shot by Richard Burbridge.
In October, Raf Simons leaves and is replaced by Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier.
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Maria Grazia Chiuri becomes Dior’s first female Creative Director.
Since her arrival at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri has promoted the idea of universal female empowerment and an essential, steadfast sisterhood. The messages of her collections, conceived as manifestos, celebrate the values carried forward by the feminist (r)evolutions, transcending injunctions and stereotypes. A bold vision, which, over the seasons and numerous creative dialogues, reinvents the timeless icons and codes of Dior. Through her many collaborations with artists and craftspeople all over the world, Maria Grazia Chiuri constantly weaves precious links between knowledge and cultures, making each Dior show a collective and socially engaged work of art.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)
Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2022 collection.
Christian Dior celebrates its 70th anniversary. The retrospective exhibition “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” opens at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris before traveling around the world.
On 19 March 2018, Kim Jones is named Creative Director of Dior men's collections
Francis Kurkdjian is named Perfume Creation Director.
Opening of La Galerie Dior
Seventy-five years after the first Christian Dior collection was shown, the House of Dior reinvents its birthplace, 30 Avenue Montaigne. La Galerie Dior, opening within its walls, is a testament to the visionary boldness of Christian Dior and his six successors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Featuring a unique scenographic narrative, La Galerie Dior embodies the spirit of Parisian Haute Couture while perpetuating the memory of this historic address.