The House of Dior

1947 – 1962: From New Look to Fashion Empire

Christian DiorFashion History Museum

Christian Dior

On February 12, 1947 Christian Dior premiered his debut collection called Corolle, after the inner whorl of petals in a flower, and inspired by the number 8, Dior’s favourite number that also resembles the hourglass figure. Carmel Snow of Harper’s Bazaar quipped that the clothes had “…such a new look.”   

Polka-dot blue silk dress (1948/1948) by Christian DiorOriginal Source:

'Christian Dior, Paris #5892', Spring 1948

In 1948 Dior accounted for 75% of all Parisian haute couture sales. Dior’s artistic success was underscored by sound business practices.

The company quickly diversified into the development of perfume, accessories, and boutique lines.

Christian Dior Original – In Canada Exclusive with Holt Renfrew & Co. (c. 1953) by Christian DiorFashion History Museum

'Christian Dior Original – In Canada Exclusive with Holt Renfrew & Co., Limited', c. 1953

Branches were created in various countries including New York in 1948, and Montreal in 1951.

The manufacturing was done by the branches under strict supervision, but the designs came from Paris.

Christian Dior, Paris (#--953) (Autumn 1958)Fashion History Museum

'Christian Dior, Paris #__953', Autumn 1958

When Christian Dior died unexpectedly in October 1957, the young Yves Saint Laurent became head designer. His first collections were hits, but a disastrous collection for autumn 1960 led to Saint Laurent being fired.

Christian Dior, Paris (#108984) (Spring 1961) by Christian DiorFashion History Museum

'Christian Dior, Paris #108984', Spring 1961

Saint Laurent’s replacement was Marc Bohan, who had headed the London Dior business.

Bohan remained with Dior until 1989.

Christian Dior, Paris (#116468) “Ambassade” (Autumn/Winter 1962) by Christian DiorFashion History Museum

'Christian Dior Paris #116468 Ambassade', Autumn 1962

By 1962, Dior was the leading Paris fashion House despite the couture industry losing ground to ready-to-wear fashions from other countries.

Credits: Story

Highlights from the exhibition The House of Dior 1947 – 1962: From New Look to Fashion Empire, on display at the Fashion History Museum March 15 – July 9, 2017

All artifacts are from the Fashion History Museum Collection. Photography is the property of the Fashion History Museum.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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