Kaleidoscope effect

Jewellery kaleidoscope

Christian Dior jewellery

Gina Lollobrigida. Dior is quoted as saying 'I have designed flower women'

Gina Lollobrigida in New Look dress. Dior is quoted as saying ‘I have designed flower women’. Christian Dior jewellery

Christian Dior jewellery
The greatest legislator of world fashion, Christian Dior magnificent decorations dominated on the world market in the late 1940s and 50s. Born in Normandy, France, Christian Dior (1905-1959) began his career in the mid-1930s, selling sketches of hats and dresses to Parisian couturiers. Meanwhile, it was Jean Ozenne, designer for couture houses, who introduced Dior to the fashion world and to his clientele. So, at the age of thirty, Dior devoted himself to studying fashion drawing, referring only to what he knew and appreciated of Edward Molyneux, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Jeanne Lanvin. Luckily, he managed to sell his first sketches of hats and then of dresses to fashionable hat makers and couture houses. In addition, he managed to sell ideas to foreign buyers. Besides, publication of his drawings in Le Figaro contributed to his first public recognition.

Vintage earrings by Christian Dior

Vintage earrings by Christian Dior

In 1937 the couturier Robert Piguet selected four of his designs and asked him to produce them for his “half-collection” (mid-season collection). Christian Dior was just thirty-two, and these were, he said, the “first dresses that I really created.” His collection New Look was a real discovery. People saw what they were missing in the postwar years. Each dress of collection was named, e.g. “Happiness”, “Tenderness”, “Love”.

Unlike his contemporary designers, who decorated clothes with unobtrusive, modest products, Dior jewellery was a mandatory detail of his collection. His early works had exclusive character. Among his clients were the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Guinness, Eva Peron. Later works were produced under license and in much larger quantities. Collection “New Look” was shown to the public in Paris in February 1947.

In London, in the late 1930s, the American Mitchel Maer created a company for the production of jewelry known as the “Metal-plastic”, later “Mitchel Maer.” Christian Dior gave Maer a license to produce jewelry for Dior fashion house, and in the next four years, Maer made several fine jewelry for “Dior”. His floral compositions and motifs, such as the unicorn brooches are very rare today.

Along with Mitchel Maer, for Dior house worked Henkel, Gross Kramer (New York) – one of the best jewelers in 1950-60-ies. Dior is also known as a manufacturer of jewelry under his own name. Love of Dior to the gardens and rural landscape in France has resulted in repetitive floral motif of wild flowers, roses and lilies. Ornaments in the form of animals, fish and unicorn – true masterpieces of design art, and are very rare. Most of Dior jewellery is dated and has a label in which is guessed lily motif.

However, Dior was not going to make history. He just wanted a woman to once again become beautiful. Therefore, his “New Look” could be called the “New nostalgia.” Dior Models featured refined simplicity. By 1950, Dior has become an integral part of the cultural export of France: 75% of the products had his name. Characteristic features of his collections were accentuated waistline and accessories. The following collections of Dior started to use a lot of fabric that allowed to completely change the silhouette.

Originator of a style that used a large quantity of material, artifices, and ornaments, Christian Dior stimulated the growth of a number of parallel industries: corset makers, feather makers, embroiderers, makers of costume jewelry, flower designers, and also illustrators. Thus, the image of the creations of Christian Dior includes the shoes of Roger Vivier, the prints of Brossin de Mere, the tulles of Brivet, the fabrics of Rebe (Rene Begue) and Georges Barbier, the jewels of Francis Winter, and the drawings of Rene Gruau. As for furs and hats, they were manufactured in specialized workshops of the couture house.

Christian Dior was, in succession, an avant-garde amateur, an artisan of a kind of return to order, and, finally, a manufacturer of elegance. The first superstar couturier, he died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-two in Bagni di Montecatini, Italy. The financier Marcel Boussac thought at the time of closing the house, but in the face of pressure from license holders, he appointed the young assistant Yves Saint Laurent as artistic director, and in this way the label survived its founder. When Yves Saint Laurent left in 1960, Marc Bohan took his place and held it until Gianfranco Ferre took over in 1989. Their designs upheld the image of a couture distanced from the multiple challenges and manifestos of contemporary fashion. The classicism of Christian Dior was not shaken until the arrival in 1997 of John Galliano, who revived the active media exposure established by Dior himself.

Mitchel Maer:

Christian Dior jewellery

Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Vol. 1