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History of the House

Discover the richness of the House through the work of Christian Dior and his six successors.

1905
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1905

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.

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Les Rhumbs villa, circa 1910.
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Christian Dior at 1 year of age, January 1906.

“My childhood home was rendered in a very soft pink, combined with gray gravel, and these two shades have remained my favorite colors in couture.”

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1906

Les Rhumbs

The Dior family settles in Les Rhumbs villa, in the heights of Granville.

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The Dior family on the garden terrace of the Les Rhumbs villa, in Granville, Normandy, circa 1910.
1910

Paris

The Dior family moves to the 16th arrondissement of Paris, keeping the Les Rhumbs villa for holidays and family gatherings.

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Inside the apartment of the Dior family, 9, rue Louis-David, circa 1925

1920

Golden youth

During the 1920s, Christian Dior frequents the cultural milieu in Paris and makes friends with the artists of the time.

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Portrait of Christian Dior by Paul Strecker, 1928.
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Christian Dior and Christian Bérard at the flea market, circa 1930.

“How did I get to know my friends? Through those mysterious laws that Goethe called elective affinities. We were just a simple gathering of painters, writers, musicians, and designers, under the aegis of Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob.”

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1928

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.

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Invitation to La Galerie Jacques Bonjean, circa 1930.
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Man Ray, Surrealist exhibition, Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris, 1933.
1931

Death of Madeleine Dior

Dior’s mother dies. Due to bad investments, his father’s business collapses.

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Obituary notice of Madeleine Dior, 4 May 1931.

1935

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.

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Illustrations by Christian Dior in the women’s pages of Le Figaro, 4 and 11 May 1939.

"In 1938, Piguet asked me to go and work for him as a House designer. I was thrilled at the offer and instantly accepted. At last, I would get to know the mysterious means by which an idea is transformed into a dress; I would make a shy, but fascinated, entrance into the universe of premières and workrooms."

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

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Christian Dior (right) at Robert Piguet, circa 1939. Photograph by Willy Maywald.

1939-1940

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.

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Christian Dior during his mobilization in the 47th Engineering Company, circa 1940.
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Menu designed by Christian Dior during his mobilization period, 2 January 1940.

1941-1946

Beginning at Lucien Lelong

Christian Dior is employed by the House of Lucien Lelong as a designer.

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Sketch of a design for Lucien Lelong, circa 1944.
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Sketch of a design for Lucien Lelong, circa 1944.

"Paul Caldaguès introduced me to Lucien Lelong, who engaged me right there and then. The House of Lelong was an excellent couture school. At Lelong, which was a much larger house than Piguet, I learned a tremendous amount more about my new profession."

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1944

Catherine Dior

His sister Catherine is denounced as a résistante (member of the French Resistance) and deported to Ravensbrück, from which she is liberated in 1945.

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Catherine Dior, circa 1940
1946
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1946

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.

"It was in 1946 that I moved into 30 Avenue Montaigne. This delightful house then had enough elegant rooms and salons, sufficient nooks and crannies to contain all eighty-five of us."

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

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Fashion show for the first Haute Couture collection, in the salons of 30 Avenue Montaigne, 12 February 1947.

1947

First collection

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!”

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Press release of the first collection, Spring-Summer 1947.

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.

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Miss Dior perfume, 1947
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Invitation card to the launch of the first Miss Dior perfume on 17 December 1947.
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On 9 September 1947, in Dallas, Christian Dior being rewarded the Fashion Oscar by Stanley Marcus.

1948

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.

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Sketch for the Spring-Summer 1952 Christian Dior-New York collection.
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Christian Dior preparing the first collection for Christian Dior-New York, Spring-Summer 1949. ELLE magazine, 27 June 1949.

1948

Milly-la-Forêt

Christian Dior buys the Moulin du Coudret, an old mill at Milly-la-Forêt near Paris, where he can relax between collections.

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Christian Dior in Milly-la-Forêt, 1949.

1949

Launch of Diorama's perfume

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Diorama perfume, 1949.

1950

Legion of Honor

Christian Dior is awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contribution to the textile industry and fashion craftsmanship.

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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.

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.

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Presentation of Haute Couture collection Spring-Summer 1940 at the Savoy Hotel in London, 25 April 1950.

1950

La Colle Noire

Christian Dior buys the Château de La Colle Noire in Montauroux, in the South of France.

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La Colle Noire grounds, circa 1950

"I dreamed of a residence like those houses in the country, where they brought me to visit older family members and for which I have tender memories. Possibly I am merely giving in to an avowed taste for interior decoration and architecture, my first vocation."

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1951

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).

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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.

"There had been striking changes at Avenue Montaigne. Behind the first little house, whose exquisite proportions I would not spoil for the sake of an empire, rose a huge building of nine floors."

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1952

Christian Dior London

Christian Dior (C.D.) Models Ltd. is established in London.

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Label of the Symphonie dress, circa 1955. Collection Dior Héritage.
1953

Caracas

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.

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Presentation brochure for the house of Christian Dior: companies and associated firms worldwide, 1953.

1953

Roger Vivier

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'.

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Versailles pump, 1960. Christian Dior by Roger Vivier.
1953

Moving in on boulevard Jules-Sandeau

Christian Dior moves into an apartment on boulevard Jules-Sandeau, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

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Christian Dior in his private mansion at 7, boulevard Jules-Sandeau, 1957.

1954

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.

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1954

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.

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Presentation of the Fall-Winter 1954 collection at Blenheim palace. Footage supplied by British Pathé.

1955

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.

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View of the Christian Dior boutique on the corner of avenue Montaigne and rue François Ier, circa 1960.
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A corner in the boutique is dedicated to perfumes, where a few lipsticks are also displayed, circa 1956.
1955

Sorbonne lecture

On August 3, Christian Dior gives a lecture followed by a fashion show at the Sorbonne's Grand Amphithéâtre in Paris.

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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.

1956

Publication of Dior by Dior

Christian Dior publishes his autobiography, Dior by Dior, which will be translated into several languages.

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Dior by Dior, published by Amiot-Dumont Editions, 1958.

"Talking about the House of Dior drives me inevitably - whether I like it or not - to speak about myself, Christian. It is really difficult to describe oneself. Do we ever know ourselves?"

Christian Dior, Dior by Dior, 1958

1956

Diorissimo

Launch of Diorissimo perfume, with lily of the valley as its principal note.

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Exceptional edition of Diorissimo perfume in Baccarat clear crystal, 1956.
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Advertising illustration by René Gruau for the Diorissimo perfume, 1956.
1957

Time Magazine

On March 4, Christian Dior appears on the cover of Time magazine.

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Cover of Time magazine, 4 March 1957.

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.

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Cover of Paris Match magazine, 2 November 1957. Photograph by Jack Garofalo.
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A report was broadcast on 30 October 1957 after Christian Dior's death.

1958
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1958

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.

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Yves Saint Laurent, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

1958

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.

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Yves Saint Laurent on the balcony at 30, avenue Montaigne after the presentation of his first collection for Christian Dior.
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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.

"I think the main element of this fashion is youth, and above all a return to forgotten trends, by which I mean simplicity, naturalness, suppleness."

Yves Saint Laurent

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Sketch by Yves Saint Laurent for the Bosphore design, Fall-Winter 1960 Haute Couture collection, Souplesse, Légèreté, Vie line.
1960
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1960

Marc Bohan

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.

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Marc Bohan, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

"Fashion is the obvious essential that we will love in due course, just for a moment, and not otherwise."

Marc Bohan - in Philippe Austruc, "Marc Bohan: twenty-five years of creation at Christian Dior", L'Officiel de la couture et de la mode de Paris n°687 magazine, November 1982.

1966

Eau Sauvage

Eau Sauvage, the first Dior eau de toilette for men, is created by Edmond Roudnitska, revolutionizing masculine fragrances.

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Eau Sauvage eau de toilette, 1966.

1967

Dior Makeup

Serge Lutens becomes Creative and Image Director of Dior Makeup, where he stays for 12 years before being replaced by Tyen in 1980.

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Explosion de couleurs collection, created by Serge Lutens, Spring-Summer 1969.
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Diorific lipstick, created by Tyen, 1997. Photograph by Tyen.
1967

Miss Dior

Philippe Guibourgé creates Miss Dior, the couture house's ready-to-wear line.

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Illustration by René Gruau for the Miss Dior Ready-to-Wear line, 1967.
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Restez Miss, Looks 17 and 18 from the Miss Dior Fall-Winter 1968 collection.
1967

Baby Dior

On 8 November, Princess Grace of Monaco opens the first Baby Dior boutique at 28, avenue Montaigne.

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Press release for the creation of Baby Dior, 7 November 1967.
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Inauguration of the Baby Dior boutique, 8 November 1967.
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Inauguration of the Baby Dior boutique, in the presence of Princess Grace de Monaco accompanied by Marc Bohan, 8 November 1967. © INA.

1968

Frédéric Castet

Frédéric Castet, head of the tailoring workshop since 1953, becomes Creative Director of the Haute Fourrure collections.

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Portrait of Frédéric Castet, circa 1970.
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Haute Fourrure looks, 1972.
1970

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.

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Sketch by Marc Bohan for the first "Boutique Monsieur" collection, Spring-Summer 1970.
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Marc Bohan wearing a look from the "Boutique Monsieur" collection, Spring-Summer 1970.
1985

Poison

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.

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Poison Perfume, 1985.
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Invitation card addressed to Isabelle Adjani for the ball held at Castle de Vaux-le-Vicomte on 17 September 1985.
1987

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.

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Hommage à Christian Dior exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, inaugurated by the President of the Republic François Mitterrand, the 19 March 1987.
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Hommage à Christian Dior exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, 1987.
1989
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1989

Gianfranco Ferré

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.

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Gianfranco Ferré, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

"When I arrived at this prestigious house, I wanted to respect the Dior style, with fitted silhouettes, large bows, a profusion of organza. I had to pay homage."

Gianfranco Ferré, Lettres à un jeune couturier, 1995.

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Arbitre suit, Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 1989, Ascot-Cecil Beaton collection.  © Guy Marineau
1992

Patrick Lavoix

Patrick Lavoix becomes Creative Director of Christian Dior Monsieur.

1996
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1996

John Galliano

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.

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John Galliano, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

"The Dior woman is the very essence of glamour, strength and sophistication"

John Galliano

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Diosera ensemble, Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1997 collection. © Guy Marineau
1996

Lady Dior

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.

1997

Christian Dior museum

The Musée Christian Dior opens in Christian Dior’s childhood home, Les Rhumbs, in Granville, Normandy.

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Les Rhumbs villa, Christian Dior's childhood home, is today the Musée Christian Dior.

1998

Dior Joaillerie

Dior Joaillerie is founded, with Victoire de Castellane as Creative Director.

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Portrait of Victoire de Castellane.
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Incroyables et Merveilleuses collection, 1999.
1999

Launch of the perfume J’adore

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J'adore Perfume, 1999.
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Drawing by Hervé Van der Straeten for J'adore, 1999.
2000

Hedi Slimane becomes Creative Director of Christian Dior Monsieur and changes its name to Dior Homme.

2006

François Demachy becomes Perfumer-Creator of the House of Dior.

2007

Kris Van Assche follows Hedi Slimane as Creative Director of Dior Homme.

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Portrait of Kris Van Assche.
2011

John Galliano leaves Dior and is replaced by assistant designer Bill Gaytten, who designs the next four collections.

2012
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2012

Raf Simons

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.

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Raf Simons, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

"Dior heritage is a challenge. I think it is impassioning and stimulating to measure up to a heritage as gigantic and sublime".

Raf Simons, in the documentary Dior and I by Frédéric Tcheng

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Look from Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2012 collection.
2014

Peter Philips becomes Creative and Image Director of Dior Makeup.

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Peter Philips' portrait as shot by Richard Burbridge.

2015

In October, Raf Simons leaves and is replaced by Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier.

2016
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2016

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.

“I have decided to work as a museum conservator: I arrive in a house, I find an incredible heritage and I use every aspect of it very freely.”

Maria Grazia Chiuri

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Maria Grazia Chiuri, film by Séraphin Ducellier (S75)

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Rêve infini ensemble, Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 collection.
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Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2022 collection.

2017

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.

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2018

Kim Jones

On 19 March 2018, Kim Jones is named Creative Director of Dior men's collections

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Spring-Summer 2019 collection. © Patrice Stable
2021

Francis Kurkdjian is named Perfume Creation Director.

2022

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.

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