Christian Dior was one of the most influential designers of the Twentieth Century and certainly one of the most famous. He studied political science and did a short stint running an art gallery. He started selling sketches to fashion designers around 1935. He went to work for the designer Robert Piguet in 1938 and he stayed there until he had to do his military during World War Two.
After the war he went to work for another prominent designer, Lucien Lelong and he stayed there until 1946. With backing from a textile company he left Lelong and decided to open up his own Couture house. The first collection that he presented on February 12, 1947 was immediately successful and one of the most influential first collections in the history of fashion.
The collection he presented on February 12, 1947 shortly became known as his New Look collection. That wasn't the name Dior gave to it, but it was actually kind of bestowed on him by Carmel Snow, an American fashion editor. The clothes were so luxurious and so much more lavish and feminine than what people had been used to during war time, Carmel Snow said, oh, Christian you've created this new look and the name stuck. Obviously, people all over referred to it as the New Look collection. It really defined fashion for the next ten years.
After his first collection, Dior rose quickly to become one of the major taste makers in fashion. Every collection he unveiled was eagerly anticipated. People said, what is Christian Dior gonna show us for spring? What's the Dior line for winter? These things were really looked forward to. He experimented with a different silhouette every year. He was always inspired by beautiful fabric and fashion at this time really stressed a very sophisticated mature look and that Christian Dior really delivered.
To prepare his collections he always sketched his concepts in secret. He went off to his country house and worked there and then kind of arrived in Paris with the idea for the next collection. Despite his power and his influence he was a very modest man and was very personable. His models and his employees all liked him.
He was very influential as a taste maker for the next ten years. Even though his career was relatively short Christian Dior was amazingly influential as a fashion designer and the House of Dior continues to be a major force in high fashion.