Christian Dior: The Early Years 1947-1957

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Harry N. Abrams, 2001 - Art - 127 pages
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In 1946, France was in the doldrums. The war, the humiliation of German occupation and the rationing of all essential products had turned the City of Lights into a gray and sad reflection of its glorious past. It was at this darkest of moments that Christian Dior, then a young designer for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong, met Marcel Boussac, France's textile king and the country's most powerful industrialist. Boussac offered to set up Dior in business, a lease came due at 28-30 Avenue Montaigne -- still the Dior headquarters -- and the young designer consulted his mystic who fell into a trance and cried out "It will be extraordinary. Your house will revolutionize fashion."

And so it did when, in 1947, Christian Dior presented his first collection. Women were finally given back their femininity, narrow waists, high and prominent busts, long skirts and even fabulous evening dresses made up of seemingly endless meters of luxurious cloth embroidered and beaded by Lesage. Carmel Snow, the American fashion doyenne, announced "Christian, it's a completely new look, " and under this banner the world's fashion press heralded the return of haute couture. This beautiful, oversize, limited edition book is based entirely on documents in first decade of the great house's activity when Christian Dior personally supervised every detail of his enterprise, created a team of devoted collaborators and a large atelier of adoring seamstress, designed his still used gray and white interior, created the Dior boutique and the popular perfumes: "Miss Dior, " "Eau Fraiche" and "Diorissimo." He not only drew every dress himself, but controlled every stitch and pleat, personally fitted most of his clients includingthe Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, the Rothschilds and the Empress of Japan. Until his death at an early age, in 1957, the modest, shy and unassuming Christian Dior was adored by everybody whose life he touched from the richest and most fashionable ladies of his time to his doorman. This book brings back the glorious days when haute couture was about beauty and elegance rather than creating sensations to license sunglasses, and will delight everybody interested in fashion.

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