Christian Dior’s legacy — and that of the designers who succeeded him at the helm of the house he founded in 1947 — has inspired numerous books.
There is no facet of the couturier’s life and work that hasn’t been examined. Celebrated photographers such as Richard Avedon captured his work through the bold personalities of the women who wore his clothes from the Forties to the Seventies.
Artists such as Mats Gustafson have illustrated some of the brand’s most recognizable pieces, from Raf Simons’ interpretation of the Bar jacket to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s sold out logo kitten heels.
The first book, which is dedicated to Christian Dior and was released last December, tells the couturier’s story through images of pieces he designed during his tenure, from 1947 to 1957.
Spanning 504 pages, the book features still images of the archival designs shot by Laziz Hamani, including the first Bar jacket created by Dior, the Caprice dress and a series of standout gowns.
“A ballgown is your dream, and it must make you a dream,” is among the quotes by the designer sprinkled throughout the tome.
The featured clothes were sourced from the house’s own archives, private collectors, the Christian Dior Museum in Granville, France, and various other museums around the world.
For the second volume in the series, dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, Hamani photographed famous pieces from the Trapeze line — a loose, A-line silhouette Saint Laurent introduced in 1958 for his debut show at the helm of the house — and an elegant black wool suit from 1960 sourced from the private collection of Hamish Bowles.
Prosper Assouline, the founder of the publishing house, said the response to the first two monographs has been so positive, the books had to be reprinted. “People love the idea of the full collection on Dior,” he noted.
The next volume, dedicated to Marc Bohan’s nearly 30-year career at Christian Dior, is set to be released next month, followed by editions on John Galliano, Raf Simons and Chiuri, the house’s current creative director.
Bohan’s work, a little-known chapter of the house’s history, is regaining its place in the spotlight with the upcoming book, as well as the Christian Dior retrospective at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
“The exhibition is a triumph for Marc Bohan. It highlights the fact that his career brought something special to the evolution of Christian Dior, and is the reflection of an era. Bohan’s pieces were worn by magnificent women like Princess Grace of Monaco, Empress Farah Diba, Sophia Loren, and so many others,” said Assouline, adding that he expects strong interest from fashion professionals and photography lovers alike when the book is released.
It’s the first time that a major work of research has been done on Bohan, he added.
Another noteworthy book, “Dior Impressions: The Inspiration and Influence of Impressionism at the House of Dior,” published by Rizzoli, examines the history of the house through the prism of one of the couturier’s biggest influences: Impressionist painters.
Also of note are the books the designer wrote himself, including his autobiography, “Dior by Dior,” and “The Little Dictionary of Fashion,” which not only provide insights into his creative vision, but also his colorful character and optimistic spirit.
“Fashion has its own moral code however frivolous: When someone objects to the fact that some of my toilettes are ill-suited to the serious times in which we live, I reply that a period of happiness is no doubt on the way, when the frivolous fashions will come into their own,” he wrote.