World-famous fashion designer Christian Dior was born on this day 109 years ago.
Dior was born to a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer in Granville, a town on the coast of Normandy in France, though he grew up in Paris At 23, Dior left school and started a small art gallery (where he actually sold a few Picassos), but the gallery was closed three years later in the midst of economic depression and Dior became involved in fashion.
After a two-year stint in the military from 1940 to 1942, Dior returned to fashion, but was forced to design dresses for the wives of Nazi officers and Fresh collaborators. After the war, in 1946, he founded his own fashion house, revolutionizing post-war French fashion.
His collections were highly influenced by flowers, and particularly the flower garden maintained by his mother at his childhood home, Villa “Les Rhumbs.” The home rests on a cliff top, surrounded by ornate gardens.
In his autobiography, he wrote, "I have most tender and amazed memories... of my childhood home. I would even say that my life and my style owe almost everything to its site and architecture."
When his father lost the home in 1932, shortly after Dior’s mother died, the town of Granville bought the home and opened the garden to the public. It now operates as a museum dedicated to Dior. The home is stuffed with three floors of Haute Couture garments and features exhibitions that change, but include a vast collection of Dior dresses and other designs.
Dior died in 1957 of a heart attack.
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