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Christian Dior

Christian Dior, was born in Grenville, France in 1905. When he was about 5 years old, his family moved to Paris. As a teenager, Dior had a timid and withdrawn personality. His father was co-owner of a fertilizer company and wanted Dior to take more interest in the family business but Dior was more interested in gardening and decorating the family home.

As Dior got older, he became enchanted with the lives of artists and writers and began designing clothes for his brothers and sisters. He loved to draw and dreamed of becoming an architect, but his mother and father felt that politics would suit him better, so he was enrolled at Ecole Des Sciences Politiques in Paris to study politics.

After four years of school, Dior spent the next two years widening his circle of friends by hanging out at bars and social clubs that were frequented by the well known artists and writers of the day.

In 1927, two years after graduation, he served an obligatory two year tour of duty in the French Army. After his tour of military service ended, Dior opened an art gallery with a friend, Jacques Bonjean, and with financial aid from his mother and father, he worked as an art dealer from 1928-1931. For several years the gallery was successful, focusing on the works of unknown but up and coming artists whose works would later become collectibles.

In 1930, tragedy struck the Dior family. Dior's younger brother, Bernard, who had been mentally unstable for many years, had to be sent to a psychiatric institution. Then his mother became ill and died shortly afterwards.

His father, who had invested heavily in the stocks, lost all of his money during the stock market crash of 1929 and was declared bankrupt, losing all of his assets. To try and get away from the misery that surrounded him, Dior decided to take a tour of Russia with a group of architects. On returning home, he found that his art gallery partner, Jacques Bonjean, had lost everything and the gallery was closed.

With no home or income, Dior had to rely on friends for food and other necessities. He sold paintings from a friend's art gallery, but after three years, it was forced to close, too. Then Dior contracted tuberculosis and had to be admitted in a health care facility for treatment. After a year in a facility on the island of Ibiza, he returned to Paris determined to reverse his fortunes.

He started drawing and designing fashions and to his surprise, they started selling. Soon his designs were being used by all the top couturiers in Paris, his hat designs being particularly popular.

Because of World War II, Dior did not finish a collection that he was working on but after the war he got a job in Paris, working for the couturier Lucien Lelong, who was the most popular dress designer of the time.

After the war, Dior wanted to revive the fashion scene in France, bringing a sexy, appealing look that people wanted. The first Christian Dior fashion show was on February 12, 1947. Dior's fashions brought excitement to the fashion industry and all of Paris started buying Dior's designs.

It wasn't long before movie stars began filling up orders to be dressed in Dior's fine clothes. Because of his popularity in America, Dior opened a boutique on New York's Fifth Ave. There, he released a new fragrance called Miss Dior.

During the 1950s, Dior was one of the most popular clothing lines in Paris and his clientele grew to include movie stars and people of high society. His entrepreneurial spirit attracted young designers, including Yves Saint-Laurent, who were talented and eager to work in the fashion industry.

In 1957, Dior died after a heart attack at a dinner in Italy. The company Dior created was shocked by his death, but Saint-Laurent's designs, the company continued to prosper. The first Christian Dior collection to be released after his death was met with rave reviews. Saint-Laurent's designs, made with Dior's fine fabrics, were soft, light, and very comfortable to wear.

Christian Dior shocked the fashion world with its designs in the 1960's by introducing motorcycle jackets that were made of alligator skin and mink coats with ribbed sweater sleeves. In 1961, Mark Bohan released his "Slim Line" collection under the Christian Dior name and it was an instant success.

During the 1970's, Dior suffered heavy financial losses due to competition in the fashion industry and troubles within it's parent company, Boussac.

In 1988, Dior launched it's first line of cologne for men called Fahrenheit. While expanding it's clothing empire to New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood and other locations around the world, Dior had became well known as a high end marketer of shoes, necklaces, earrings, perfume, pens, cologne, hats, scarves and many other accessories.

In the 1990's, Christian Dior made several acquisitions that would help the company. He purchased Moet Hennesey Louis Vuitton in 1990 and by the middle of the decade, Dior had flagship stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, Hawaii, with it's main stores in New York, Paris, and Geneva.

In 1992, Dior launched the perfume called Dune, which was a very popular item to have among women and in 1996, the Dior image was strengthened when it's designers create controversy with events featuring models dressed in paper bags which helped the company's sales skyrocket.

Although Christian Dior was very successful with it's high end women's fashions, in 2001, the company released a men's clothing line that attracted that added to the Dior mystic. Dior also launched a jewelry line that same year called Christian Dior Haute Joaillerie which was also very successful.

Dior opened the first Dior Homme Boutique in Milan in 2002. In June of 2002, Hedi Slimane, who is instrumental in much of Christian Dior's success in recent years, was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America "International Designer of the Year Award.

In 2006, Dior launched it's popular Gaucho Bag, which was seen on the arms of Claudia Schiffer, Demi Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss, and other celebrities. To honor Christian Dior, the founder of the company, Dior launched The Dior Cruz 2007.

The Christian Dior name brand is recognized as one of the premier manufacturer of beautiful gowns and handbags.

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