Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dior After Dior (Before Galliano)

Unlike John Galliano, Marc Bohan, the man who succeeded Christian Dior as director/designer of the famous maison de couture, never managed to accomplish that most difficult feat in the world of high fashion: Remain true to an esprit while at the same time distinguishing oneself as a creator and innovator unto himself. 

When one thinks of Chanel, immediately we think of Karl Lagerfeld. He has been true to himself and loyal to the house of Chanel, but then again the man is a genius. John Galliano has achieved the same star status chez Dior. Their names are intimately and irrevocably bound to the "brands" into which they have infused new life and vitality.

Nonetheless Bohan dressed Sophia Loren, Grace de Monaco, Brigitte Bardot, Gloria Guiness, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, Babe Paley, Isabelle Adjani and scores of others. He created Baby Dior in 1967, Christian Dior Monsieur in 1969 and launched the timeless fragrance Eau Savage (1966) and Poison (1985).

If you will be in Paris this month or next, a detour to the Musée Christian Dior de Granville in Normandy, the former home of Christian Dior converted into a museum in 1997, is in order. Until September 20th a special exposition "Les Années Bohan" celebrates his contribution to the house of Dior. 

If you're a fashion fanatic and you happen to be visiting Paris anytime, it's worth a side trip to see the house, the gardens, the permanent collections. Think about Dior's "New Look" immediately after the war and the scandal he created by using so much fabric after years of sacrifice and mending of old clothes. It was his joyous celebration of freedom and a bright future for La France.  Very Gallic indeed: The past is the past.

This photo is by Richard Avedon, isn't it marvelous the way the skirt swirls?

The Musée Christian Dior and the house in which Christian Dior said he spent the happiest years of his life.

(Pictured above: Grace Kelly, Marc Bohan with Sophia Loren, Maria Callas, Jacqueline Kennedy in what is apparently an exact copy of the original Bohan design -- for political reasons [?] who knows -- and Princess Grace inaugurating the Baby Dior boutique with Bohan.)

An aside: Marc Bohan will be 83 on August 22.


Marsi said...

Interesting. There is something, unfortunately, vaguely forgettable about Marc Bohan's contributions to the House of Dior. St-Laurent was an incredible talent, particularly considering how young he was when he took over Dior, and Galliano is simply a mad genius.

If I'm not mistaken, the reason Jackie work a copy of a Dior is because American First Ladies generally wear American designers.

Have you seen "Mad Men" on DVD yet? I think you'd love it. The emotional content is so subtly devastating that you can't help but watch, but then you add in the early '60s styling and grooming? Impeccable.

Deja Pseu said...

Those are such lovely photographs! They make me realize how blasé fashion photography has often become, relying on outrageous and/or shocking images which cannot recapture the simple artistry of composition and movement captured so well in that last photo with the twirling skirt.

Bonjour Madame said...

Lovely photos. I agree with Deja Pseu about the clothes standing out in vintage photographs better. Dior is so very chic.

knitpurl said...

Think I need to get a passport. Lovely, Tish, per usual.

tish jett said...

It's true what you say. Wouldn't you think some of the fashion magazine editors and art directors would take a peek into the past after all designers do it all the time for inspiration.

Thank you.

As for "Mad Men" everyone I know is talking about it and of course I have never seen it. What should I do? Try to get the DVDs? How many seasons has it been on?

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