When Christian Dior started offering limited-edition lipsticks to VIPs at his collection presentation in 1950, there were only 350 units produced, coordinated to match the red and orchid dresses in the collection. Within three years, Dior started manufacturing lipsticks commercially, called Rouge Dior, for export to foreign markets, and the rest is history.
Although Dior’s work in fashion predated the brand’s beauty launches, the designer always had ambitions in beauty. “The dream of Dior was the New Look, obviously, but also the total look: to dress women from head to toe, including the smile,” said Frédéric Bourdelier, director of brand culture and heritage at Parfums Christian Dior. “At the end of the war, we were in a moment of optimism, glamour, seduction and happiness. So, Rouge Dior is synonymous with this joie de vivre,” he said.
It’s also a core piece of the brand’s offerings today. “The link is obvious — it’s perfection, glamour, couture and creativity,” Bourdelier said. “It’s a pillar of the brand in terms of image.”
That first foray into color cosmetics — the only one during Christian Dior’s lifetime — has been reincarnated over the years under past and present image directors Serge Lutens and Peter Philips, including the most recent iteration that launched in January of this year. Bourdelier said such reinterpretations require a constant conversation with the brand’s past. “Peter and the team are always very excited when we discover a new archive find, for example” he said. “Today, very few houses are as invested in heritage.” Here, some of the images and ads from the Dior archives that have had a lasting impression on beauty.
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