The House of Dior has one of the most successful track records of any long standing luxury brand, providing the highest standard of quality alongside many of the most elegant designs. But how did it all begin? Although passing only 10 years after the brand’s conception, in 1957, Christian Dior left behind an unforgettable legacy as a trailblazer and visionary. His designs were audacious to the conservative values of the time, highlighting the female silhouette and making indulgent fabric choices. His vision of femininity captured the hearts of many women who adored how he revolutionized the world of fashion. After Dior’s passing, the brand went on with a young Yves Saint Laurent at the helm, who continued the house’s legacy by serving up irreverence with every new collection.
Once regarded as the leader of all things high-class, France fell into a slump during World War II. The effects of wartime rationing bled into fashion which created a prevailing function-focused style. The budding designer, Christian Dior, countered this, and ignited a change in fashion when he released his first collection in 1947, characterized by cinched waists, accentuated hips, and heightened hemlines. His fashion edit became an immediate hit, being coined “The New Look” for the way that its enchanting feminine approach inspired Parisians to lead the world in elegance and romanticism once more.
After being quickly cast under a spotlight, Christian Dior’s inner circle soon realized that the designer had a superstitious nature. Not only did he visit clairvoyants for their vision on what the future would hold, but he was known to carry good-luck charms on his person at all times. The symbols most significant to Christian Dior were four-leaf clovers, stars, and bumble bees; three icons that are displayed on many of the Dior handbags and accessories still being designed today. While the meaning of Dior's idols has long been speculated, it is commonly known that Dior referred to his team of craftsmen as “bees”, and his fashion house as a “hive”.
The number eight was also of particular importance to Christian Dior. He opened his atelier at 30 Avenue Montaigne, in the eighth borough of Paris, in a building with eight stories and eight workshops. The number is presumed to have been a muse for the French designer, offering a vision of the brand itself in its curved silhouette, with the voluminous body and small waist capturing the feminine contour of Dior’s designs.
The classic silhouette of the Dior Lady Dior Bag had humble beginnings before it took the world by storm. Originally named “Chouchou”, translated from French to mean “Pet” or “Favorite”, the iconic handbag was first carried by the French upper-class and politicians in the early 1990s. The Dior handbag soon garnered worldwide recognition after being gifted to the infamous Lady Diana by the first lady of France in 1994. Princess Diana went on to carry the handbag to a variety of royal events, so much so that the bag was renamed the Lady Dior Bag, with Diana’s personal blessing. After an abundance of airplane tarmac photo-ops and MET Gala mentions, the Dior Lady Dior Bag quickly became synonymous with the Princess’ elegant grace and modern femininity; and in turn, cemented itself as a favorite among collectors.
While many luxury handbag lovers know the Cannage print to be symbolic of Dior, very few know the origin of the stitched pattern. In the brand's early years, the emerging Parisian designer hosted fashion shows to exhibit his work to Europe’s elite. There, the guests of Dior’s show would view his collection while sitting in Napoleon III-style cane chairs, composed of wood and cane webbing. The iconic Dior Cannage quilted print was later created in the image of the classic rattan weave, serving as reflection of the brand’s legendary beginnings.
Marked by a founder known for his mystical nature, it’s no wonder the House of Dior’s legendary history is fraught with hidden symbolism and nods to the late designer’s remarkable mind. Christian Dior spearheaded a change in fashion after a lengthy period of war and depletion in France, revolutionized the way women dressed and breathed life back into a country that had grown tired and lackluster. From his first collection until his last only 10 years later, Dior reminded the people of France of what it truly meant to be French, and to this day, the House of Dior continues to whisper his message subtly between the lines of every Dior collection.