Born in 1905 in Granville, France, Christian Dior went on to become one of the country's most revered couturiers and the industry's most successful businessmen. Launching his couture house in February 1947 with a collection of nipped-in waists, soft shoulders and full skirts that then editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Carmel Snow christened the 'New Look', Dior was swiftly credited with rescuing the fortunes of France's fashion industry in the post-war period. The style -which used yards of fabric at a time when textiles were still subject to widespread rationing- caused a mixture of outrage and delight and formed an aesthetic integral to the house to this day.
Dior continued to create new styles for his 'flower women' that recalled the sumptuousness of France's Belle Epoque until his death in 1957 where a 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent was handed the responsibility of designing for a house that now accounted for half of all haute couture sales as well as being the favoured choice for Hollywood icons from Ava Gardner to Marlene Dietrich.
Following Saint Laurent's conscription to the French army in 1960, Christian Dior recruited Parisian Marc Bohan as chief designer introducing a softness and a rich palette to the youthful vitality favoured by his predecessor. Following Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre's leadership of the house between 1989 and 1997, young British designer John Galliano became creative director. Galliano was credited with reintroducing a fantasy and spectacle to Christian Dior through his vivid and extravagant couture collections, harking back to the sensation of the historic 1947 New Look. In 2011, Galliano departed, with the house's subsequent collections being produced by his creative team and atelier.