Christian Ernest Dior / 1905–1957 / Granville, France / Fashion Designer, Businessman, Founder of Christian Dior SE (now a part of LVMH)
What alarmed me most in the course of my stay in the United States was the habit of spending enormous sums of money in order to achieve so little real luxury. America represents the triumph of quantity over quality. Mass production triumphs; men and women both prefer to buy a multitude of mediocre things rather than a smaller number, carefully chosen. The American woman, faithful to the ideal of optimism with the United States seems to have made its rule of life, spends money entirely in order to gratify the collective need to buy. She prefers three new dresses to one beautiful one and does not linger over a choice, knowing perfectly well that her fancy will be of short duration and the dress which she is in the process of buying will be discarded very soon.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.Reported in Ladies’ Home Journal, Vol. 73, April, 1956.
Gossip, even malicious rumors, are worth more than the most expensive publicity campaign in the world.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
Since there is no patience where vanity is concerned, any client who is kept waiting considers it a personal insult.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
The dresses of this collection may be worn by only a few of the thousands of women who read and dream about them, but high fashion need not be directly accessible to everyone: it need only exist in the world for its influence to be felt.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
Dior on Dior
I’m a mild man, but I have violent tastes.Reported by Jeanne Perkins in “Dior,” Life magazine, Vol. 24, No. 9, March 1, 1948, pp. 85–90; accessible at books.google.com.
I wanted to be considered a good craftsman. I wanted my dresses to be constructed like buildings, molded to the curves of the female form, stylizing its shape.Cited in statement in “The Master of Haute Couture” exhibition, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum, Getaria, Spain, 2011.
We were emerging from the period of war, of uniforms, of women-soldiers built like boxers. I drew women-flowers, soft shoulders, fine waists like liana, and wide skirts like corolla.Reported by Shirley Miles O’Donnol in American Costume, 1915-1970: A Source Book for the Stage Costumer (1982).
If my poor maman had still been alive, I would never have tried.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
I used to have frequent arguments with my father which ended in doors slamming and the ultimate expletive, “filthy bourgeois!”Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
Re: Dior’s childhood fear of his father’s fertilizer factory:
This was certainly at the root of my intense dislike of machinery, and my firm determination never to work in an office or anything of that nature.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
My mother whom I adored, secretly wasted away and died of grief. . . . Her death . . . marked me for life.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
We went from losses to goods seized by creditors, while continuing to organize surrealist or abstract exhibitions.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
I think I would be more suited to the couture side of the business!Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
I know very well the women. The short skirt was never a good fashion—very vulgar. The American women will accept the new fashions. You can never stop the fashions.Reported by Malcolm P. McNair and Harry L. Hansen in Problems in Marketing (out of print) (1949).
[Black is] the most popular and the most convenient and the most elegant of all colors.Reported by Akiko Fukai in Fashion in Colors (2004).
Colour is what gives jewels their worth. They light up and enhance the face. Nothing is more elegant than a black skirt and sweater worn with a sparkling multi-stoned necklace.Reported by Maria Doulton in “Simply brilliant: Cher Dior lights up Paris,” The Telegraph (UK), August 16, 2011.
Bright reds—scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson, or cherry—are very cheerful and youthful.Reported by Maria Doulton in “Simply brilliant: Cher Dior lights up Paris,” The Telegraph (UK), August 16, 2011.
A dress is a piece of ephemeral architecture, designed to enhance the proportions of the female body.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion; a “little black frock” is essential to a woman’s wardrobe.Reported by Nancy MacDonell Smith in The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites (2003).
Much has been written about fashion, in all its aspects, but i do not think any couturier has ever before attempted to compile a dictionary on the subject.Christian Dior, The Little Dictionary of Fashion: A Guide to Dress Sense for Every Woman (1954).
Many people dismiss haute couture as being something that is only for those who are very wealthy… simplicity, good taste, and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money.Reported by Alison Marie Behnke in The Little Black Dress and Zoot Suits: Depression and Wartime Fashions from the 1930s to the 1950s (2011).
The prime need of fashion is to please and attract. Consequently this attraction cannot be born of uniformity, the mother of boredom.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
Contemporary elegance is at once simple and natural.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
The best bargain in the world is a successful dress. It brings happiness to the woman who wears it and it is never too dear for the man who pays for it. The most expensive dress in the world is a dress which is a failure. It infuriates the woman who wears it and it is a burden to the man who pays for it. In addition, it practically always involves him in the purchase of a second dress much more expensive—the only thing that can blot out the memory of the first failure.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
It is unforgivable to do what one doesn’t love, especially if one succeeds.Cited in statement in “The New Look” exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1947; reported by Judith Miller in Costume Jewelry (2007).
In a machine age, dressmaking is one of the last refuges of the human, the personal, the inimitable.Reported in Rotunda: The Magazine of the Royal Ontario Museum, Volume 34, 2001.
Don’t buy much but make sure that what you buy is good.Christian Dior, The Little Dictionary of Fashion: A Guide to Dress Sense for Every Woman (1954).
Living in a house which does not suit you is like wearing someone else’s clothes.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
The need for display, which is dormant in all of us, can express itself nowadays in fashion and nowhere else.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).
It is astonishing how the passing of one night permits one to isolate that which one did not really like, from that which one adores!Christian Dior, Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior (1964).
My dream is to save women from nature.Reported in Newsweek magazine, Vol. 50, No. 19, November 4, 1957.
Women are most fascinating between the ages of 35 and 40, after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass 40, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.Reported in the Philippines Free Press, Vol. 62, 1969.
Women, with their sure instincts, realized that my intention was to make them not just more beautiful but also happier.Reported by Marie-France Pochna in Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New (1996).
A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.Reported by D.R. Schneider in Saving the Whales (2008).
There will always be women who cling to a particular style of dress because they wore it during the time of their greatest happiness, but white hair is the only excuse for this type of eccentricity.Christian Dior, Christian Dior and I (1957).