The Story Behind DIOR’s Legendary Images

The Story Behind DIOR’s Legendary Images

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During his initial days, selling fashion sketches was the easy recipe for making money for Christian Dior, the French fashion legend. Back then, nobody knew that his art of fashion aesthetics would lead him to become one of the world’s top fashion houses with the eponymous brand label ‘Christian Dior’.

Recently, the collaboration has been developed between the design house ‘Christian Dior’ and its photographers, bringing the legendary images from the Dior’s fashion photo shoots in a book named “Dior: The Legendary Images” (June 2014, Rizzoli). The book traces the visual journey of Dior’s house from 1947 till today.

The book has been published to accompany the exhibition of the same name in September this year in Granville, France.

A dress is a piece of ephemeral architecture, designed to enhance the proportions of the female body. – Christian Dior

The Story Behind DIOR’s Legendary Images

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The Beginning

The legendary images of Christian Dior collection’s photography dates back to its first showcase i.e. in 1947. The American photographer Pat English documented the designer’s first collection in the label’s home on 30 avenue Montaigne in Paris. Since then, world’s renowned visionaries such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and in recent years, Patrick Demarchelier have photographed the development of the brand’s aesthetics in their cameras.

It was in 1948 an article in the March issue of LIFE, when Jean Perkins, a columnist for the same came out with a masterpiece titled DIOR. As they call monsieur in French, Perkins referred the monsieur as “a timid, middle-aged, insignificant-looking little Frenchman named Christian Dior.”

Did You Know? 

The Dior’s first collection named ‘Corolle’ (means the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English) was showcased on February 12, 1947. 

But Perkin then described the Frenchman’s first collection as “simply and unforgettably, the New Look”, which was originally coined by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar.

According to Wikipedia.com –

Dior’s designs were more voluptuous 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 flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form.

The Legendary Images

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The book comprises over 200 photographs from the Dior’s century long existence.

The fashion photographers were given their due credit such as Richard Avedon and Horst P. Horst were described as “who established the canon of Dior iconography”. While Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton and Helmut Newton were told as who “shaped the Dior vision of women into an archetype of fashion photography”.

In the book, 1947 – 1957 section explores the time when only “privileged clients, models and fashion editors has the luxury of being able to see, touch, or wear the haute couture dresses that Christian Dior designed”.

The “Christian Dior Through the Lens of the Great Photographers” section focuses on imagery of the late designer, whether posing for his professional portrait or relaxing in his apartment on rue Royale.

The “Sovereign Style” summarizes the construction of a successful fashion shoot, highlighting one series.

“Four Visions of a Collection” captured Raf Simons’s first haute couture collection through the eyes of Demarchelier, Terry Richardson, Willy Vanderperre, and Paolo Roversi, who are called to have “brought a new dimension to photography that was truly to scale with a globalized world.”

You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes. Too many women think that they are unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet.” — Christian Dior 

Four Visions of a Collection

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Priyanka V Gupta

Priyanka V Gupta has four years of experience in fashion, films and lifestyle journalism. While she is not working, she loves to read books, play sports, dance, watch movies or simply travel.

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