70 YEARS OF DIOR
70 years ago, more specifically on February 12, 1947, then-unknown Christian Dior presented his debut couture show. “New Look” was Dior’s key-word duet, elected by Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow: “it’s quite a revolution, dear Christian, your dresses have such a new look.”
Overnight, Dior became the most notorious Frenchman in the world, celebrated by fashion editors for the return of uninhibited Parisian glamour. Others didn’t agree: future Prime Minister Harold Wilson banned British Vogue, for example, from mentioning the ration-threatening designs. Protesters in Chicago carried pickets shouting “Burn Mr Dior.”
In any case, the couturier had made his mark, winning the loyalty of internationals royals and Hollywood starlets; all this just in his short-lived decade.
To commemorate its legacy, the brand has built a state-of-the-art archive – “Dior Heritage” – in an underground location next to its corporate headquarters. Naturally, knowing Dior, it couldn’t be a cramped little archive: the pristine space is akin to a temple-like luxury flagship, with orchids, Brescia marble, Fontages bow mirrors, glass cases, custom hangers, boxes and mannequins, documents, letters, a wood-paneled library…
Maria Grazia Chiuri is not only Dior’s first female creative director; she is the fourth to be a non-French native. “If you speak to me about Italian brands, I know them very well — and they’re much closer to the story of prêt-à-porter,” she offers as a way of emphasizing how much of an aid the Dior archive has been in her new role. “At a brand like Dior, in some way, the designer is important, but what the people really want is Dior. We live in a very egocentric world now, but in the future, what you remember is Dior.”
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