Christian Dior, the eponymous fashion brand, is renowned worldwide for its elegance, aesthetics, and sophistication. The founder, Christian Dior, was undoubtedly a genius in the fashion industry, setting everlasting fashion trends with each of his designs. However, despite his fame, there are some facts about Dior that have remained widely unknown. Here are 10 things you did not know about him.

1. Christian Dior was born in a wealthy family

Christian Dior was born on January 21, 1905, in the seaside town of Granville, France. His father, Maurice Dior, was a prosperous fertilizer manufacturer. Christian was the second of the family’s five children. Their wealth allowed the Dior family to lead a luxurious life, enabling young Dior to develop a taste for elegance and beauty.

However, the family’s fortunes changed after World War I when their business failed significantly. Regardless, this rich background undoubtedly contributed to the formation of Christian Dior’s aesthetics in fashion design.

2. Christian Dior Initially Dreamed of Being an Architect

Few people realize that the eminent fashion designer initially harbored ambitions of becoming an architect. This dream, however, was resisted by his father, leading him to study Political Science instead. Despite this, he has undoubtedly incorporated architectural concepts into his fashion design, with his understanding of structure and form creating unique and iconic designs.

Christian Dior’s architecture background might be responsible for some of the distinctive attributes of his fashion designs. Many of his works were praised for their sculptural silhouettes, demonstrating an architectural approach to fashion design.

3. Christian Dior was Superstitious

Despite his rationale and logic, Dior was known for his superstitions. He often consulted his fortune teller before making important decisions regarding his fashion house. Moreover, he had a fascination and fixation with talismans, especially star and four-leaf clover motifs, which often featured in his designs.

This belief in luck and prophecy was not only reflected in his personal life but also influenced Dior’s business tactics. It is said that he even kept a cluster of his lucky charms in his atelier while creating new designs.

4. He introduced the “New Look”

Christian Dior unveiled the historic “New Look” on February 12, 1947, reinventing women’s fashion post World War II. These designs were characterized by their cinched waists, soft shoulders, and voluminous skirts, redefining womanhood and femininity in fashion.

The New Look was a stark contrast to the restricted, utilitarian clothing that dominated during wartime. Despite the initial criticism for his excessive use of fabric during a time of rationing, the New Look quickly gained popularity and continues to influence modern fashion.

5. His sister Catherine Dior was a Resistance Fighter

While Christian Dior found his fame in the fashion world, his sister Catherine Dior was a decorated member of the French resistance during World War II. She survived the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbrück, and lived to significantly inspire her brother’s work.

Christian named his first perfume, Miss Dior, in honor of his sister Catherine. He appreciated her bravery, resistance, and resilience, qualities that he endeavored to reflect in his brand and designs.

6. His Death Remains a Mystery

Dior died unexpectedly in 1957 while on vacation in Italy’s Montecatini. The abrupt passing of a globally renowned designer aroused a wave of questions, with various theories regarding his death arising. Some attributed his death to a heart attack triggered by a game of cards, while others speculated it was due to a vicious bout of hiccups after a lavish meal.

Regardless of the cause, Christian Dior’s death marked the end of an era in fashion. His assistant, 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent, took over the fashion house and maintained Dior’s vision and elegance.

7. Dior’s Fashion Show was the First to Be Called “Haute Couture”

Christian Dior’s fashion show in 1947 was the first to be termed ‘Haute Couture’. The term literally means ‘high sewing’, which refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted fashion. Dior’s presentation in 1947 set novel standards for the fashion industry, with every subsequent fashion show adhering to these standards of ‘Haute Couture’.

Dior’s vision of fashion, his pioneering designs, revolutionized the world of Haute Couture. His designs, even to this day, are synonymous with luxury, opulence, and elegance, embodying the essence of Haute Couture.

8. Dior’s Fashion House Operates in More Than 210 Locations

Christian Dior’s vision has not only survived but indeed thrived, with the Dior brand now operating more than 210 locations worldwide. It has kept its founder’s spirit alive, reflecting Dior’s luxurious aesthetics in its every design.

It is said that every five minutes, a Dior bag is sold somewhere in the world. That’s a testament to the brand’s global success and the timeless appeal of its founder’s original vision.

9. He was a Passionate Art Collector

Prior to establishing himself as a fashion designer, Christian Dior was a prominent Parisian art collector. He collected works from artists like Salvador Dalí and Alberto Giacometti before they gained global recognition.

His passion for the arts significantly influenced his fashion designs. In fact, Dior’s art collection inspired many of the prints and silhouettes he created in his lifetime.

10. His Haute Couture House was the First to Launch Ready-to-Wear

Although Christian Dior’s primary focus was on haute couture, he paved the way for ready-to-wear fashion. In 1949, Dior’s fashion house became the first haute couture house to launch a ready-to-wear line, the Diorama collection.

This wasn’t just a commercial achievement, but also a cultural one. It made high fashion more accessible to a larger audience, widening the scope and reach of the Dior brand.

This article should give you a new perspective on Christian Dior and what he brought to the world of fashion. Stay tuned to learn more about the fashion world’s titans.

Useful links:

Official Dior Website

Christian Dior Biography

Christian Dior at The Met

Christian Dior News & Articles – The New York Times