A journey through Dior: from the New Look to a ‘very modern’ direction

Following more than a year of speculation, French fashion house Christian Dior finally announced April 9 that Belgian creator Raf Simons has replaced John Galliano as the label’s creative director, with the former Jil Sander designer telling The New York Times’ Suzy Menkes he is aiming for a “very modern Dior” when he presents his debut line at Paris Couture Week this July. But with the designer adding that he plans to “also look back” and take inspiration from the 1947-1957 period of the fashion house, Relaxnews considers the label’s past creative directors and their contribution to the Dior aesthetic.

Christian Dior
The label’s founder and namesake heralded what became known as the New Look back in 1947 when he presented a particularly feminine collection dominated by long flowing skirts, tiny waists and soft shoulders, which provided a stark contrast to the slinky silhouette of the 1930s. Top clients included Marlene Dietrich and The Duchess of Windsor, while today’s stars continue to embrace his ladylike designs -- Natalie Portman wore a red polka dot haute couture creation conceived by Dior in 1954 to this year’s Academy Awards.

Yves Saint Laurent
Before founding his namesake maison in 1962, Yves Saint Laurent achieved fame as Dior’s successor, with his debut show in 1958 adding a sense of youthfulness to the brand with a softer interpretation of the New Look. While later experiments with hobble skirts and a beatnik aesthetic didn’t go down so well with the press at the time, Saint Laurent left his biggest mark with the trapeze dress he showcased in 1958. With its free-swinging shape, the loose-fitting style was a stark contrast to Dior’s cinched-in creations.

Marc Bohan
Bohan remains the longest-serving couturier at Dior to date, and although his creations were more conservative than those of his predecessors, the designer ensured the maison remained one of the world’s most in demand with top clients including Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace of Monaco. One of Bohan’s most acclaimed collections was the Fall/Winter 1966 line, with its tweed coats, fur trims and long black boots inspired by the movie Doctor Zhivago.

Gianfranco Ferré
The first non-French creator at the helm of Dior, Italy’s Gianfranco Ferré was chosen by owner Bernard Arnault to replace Bohan, and his eclectic collections brought plenty of differing elements to the Dior aesthetic ranging from a dandy influence to Renaissance shapes, although it wasn’t until the appointment of Galliano in 1996 that the label would return to its most pioneering roots.

John Galliano
Combining Dior’s fondness for femininity with a strong theatrical influence, British fashion designer Galliano embraced Kabuki styling and gave the fashion house a much more distinct aesthetic, notably with his flamboyant haute couture shows. His designs were embraced by everyone from the late Princess Diana to actress and fashion maverick Tilda Swinton, who wore a huge fruit-printed Dior gown to the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.


  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 35 minutes ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 12 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 13 hours ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • David Moyes statement after Man United firing
    David Moyes statement after Man United firing

    Statement released by David Moyes on Wednesday, a day after Manchester United announced he left as manager after less than a season in charge.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.