Christian Dior—Where ‘True Elegance Must Come’
From inimitable Christian Dior jewelry and perfume, to must-have makeup and accessories, there’s little in the world of fashion that Dior hasn’t influenced. Discover the story of how one man’s passion blossomed into a worldwide fascination.
From adversity to brilliance: Christian Dior
Any resume of Christian Dior SE—the global luxury fashion powerhouse—must first start with the man who gave it its name, and brought it to life with his vision, Christian Dior. From a young age Dior showed a natural aptitude for the arts, and a sound business mind which belied his tender years. As a boy, to make money he conceived and drew sketches of his own fashion designs and sold the originals outside of his home. By all accounts his family—known for their successful fertilizer business, Dior Fréres—had wished for him to enter politics; however, Dior’s heart was set on pursuing another life path, one which would go on to leave a beautiful and indelible mark on the world.
After graduating from school in 1928, Dior founded a modest gallery in Paris with the help of seed money gifted to him by his father. There, he sold works of art with his business partner, until three years later when tragedy struck. Dior’s brother and mother passed away and the family business fell on hard times, both of which took place while the Great Depression wreaked havoc across the world. The repercussions forced his father to give up the family business, and Christian Dior had to shut down his fledgling art business. As is so often seen throughout history, it is in the face of adversity that greatness emerges, and this unfortunate setback ultimately proved to be the making of Christian Dior as we remember him and his legacy today.
1937 and Dior discovers the ‘virtue of simplicity’
Determined to follow his passion, Dior found work for renowned Swiss-French fashion designer, Robert Piguet. Under the tutelage of Piguet, Dior cut his teeth in the fashion industry by designing three collections under the name of his new mentor. This opportunity had a lasting impact on the still young Christian Dior, who reflected that, “Robert Piguet taught me the virtues of simplicity through which true elegance must come.” These words would go on to form the bedrock of Dior’s style sensibilities.
Dior: defining French chic since 1946
Opportunity knocked for Dior again in 1946 when he caught the attention of the purportedly richest man in France, Marcel Boussac, who asked Dior to design for an established Parisian fashion house. Dior declined, but managed to persuade his admirer to support him in creating his own venture—and voila, the Christian Dior fashion house was born on 8 December 1946. The first Dior collection was an instant hit, and at once showcased Dior’s eye for innovation while reinstating France, and more specifically, Paris, as the capital of fashion.
Christian Dior died on 23 October 1957, only 11 years after the first official Christian Dior shop opened its doors. His passing spread pandemonium across the business, such was the unique leadership and vision he displayed. At one point the general manager Jacques Rouët almost stopped Dior operations across the world entirely, before he instead chose to promote a young designer from inside the company, Yves Saint-Laurent. The decision proved to be a masterstroke: With Saint-Laurent at the helm, Dior seamlessly continued its rise to the upper echelons of French, and global, fashion—alas, with its founder and talisman present only by virtue of the company name.
Christian Dior fine jewelry maker
Today, Dior the brand is firmly fixed in the minds of luxury consumers the world over. As the fashion house grew, so too did its repertoire, and as decades passed Dior began opening exclusive, niche stores for a range of luxury goods. One of its most remarkable successes is the line of Dior fine jewelry boutiques. In these stunning Dior stores, the brand’s trademark approach to design and aesthetics come to life in the form of beautiful, superior quality stones, and precious metals. And although Christian Dior the man has been missing for decades, his taste and style still influences Christian Dior jewelry today. Collections such as the Rose Dior Bagatelle: Exquisite rings of unparalleled elegance, inspired by Christian Dior’s favorite flower that he cultivated in the family garden as a child.
Creative director Victoire de Castellane sketches all Dior fine jewelry designs by hand, carefully ensuring that each and every millimeter of a ring is impeccable. Once completed, de Castellane hands over the sketches to the team of elite Dior designers, and imparts a few words of inspiration and direction which she allows the designers to interpret as they see fit. This kind of dynamic—all within the context of a deep understanding of the Dior art of design—is what results in the unmistakable Christian Dior fine jewelry creations coveted around the world today. Some of the most notable Dior jewelry collections of late include:
Rose des Vents
This Dior collection of necklaces and bracelets includes a majestic double-sided medallion; one side features an eight-point golden star, the other, one of the following hard stones: subtle mother of pearl; turquoise; pink opal; and a serene lapis lazuli. This glorious range is perfectly suited for upscale events, such as a gala, or for those special gatherings with close friends and family.
An affirmation of excellence and the joy to be found in beauty, this Dior jewelry collection comprises bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. Each piece offers a quintessentially French twist on the conventional lover’s pledge, culminating in an elegant, cursive ‘oui’—the three letters shaped expertly out of precious gold, white gold or pink gold, and set in diamonds according to preference. A Oui piece is ideal as a gift to show that special someone how much they mean.
Jardin de Milly-la-Forêt
Named after the village close to Paris where Christian Dior bought a house the day after his debut fashion show, this collection of vibrant rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets abounds with color and life. Each ornate piece echoes a glorious garden blooming with marvelous flowers. This playful Dior jewelry collection works well for casual and more formal occasions alike. The unique, intricate design also makes for an unforgettable gift.