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Christian Dior Crystal Flower Necklace

Willow modelling a Christian Dior necklace

Vintage Crystal Flower Necklace by Christian Dior

Christian Dior was born in Normandy in 1905, the son of a wealthy fertiliser manufacturer. At the age of five, the family relocated to Paris, where Dior set up an art gallery which had been bought by his father. Here, Christian sold paintings by Picasso. However in 1929 he had to close the art gallery following the death of his mother and brother and the collapse of his father’s business. He went to work for fashion designer Robert Piguet until 1940 when he was called up for military service. Subsequently he worked for Lucien Lelong, where he and Pierre Balmain were the primary designers.

While Dior was working for Lucien Lelong, his younger sister was arrested for her part in the French Resistance. She survived and was freed in 1945. In 1946, the couture house was opened at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris, backed by Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate.

Dior’s debut collection  was held in 1947 and featured feminine, full skirts, cinched waists and curved shoulders- called the New Look.  Miss Dior perfume, named after his younger sister was also launched. The New York boutique was opened on 5th Avenue in 1948, and in 1949, Dior was the first couturier to arrange licensed production of his designs. This was criticised by the French Chamber of Commerce for degrading the haute couture industry, however other fashion houses soon followed suit.

In 1955, Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s design assistant and at the time of Dior’s death in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent was promoted to artistic director until called up for service. He was replaced by Marc Bohan, who created a new silhouette for Dior- the Slim Look.

In 1978, the company went into administration, and was baled out by The Willot Group, later being sold in 1984 to investor Bernard Arnault.  In 1988,  Arnault sold a 32% share of the business to LVMH group.  Gianfranco Ferre was made stylistic director of Christian Dior in 1989, replacing Marc Bohan. He remained in this position until 1997, when he was replaced by John Galliano until 2011.  Raf Simons is the current artistic director for the fashion brand.

This vintage necklace was purchased in the 1980s from the Bond Street, London Boutique by a British TV Celebrity. 

Photograph by Lucie Trapp, model Willow Verney


About Us

The Design Gallery was launched in 2002 to specialise in progressive design movements of the 19th and 20th Century. We met whilst studying at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and discovered that we shared a passion for design, especially Art Deco, Art Nouveau and the Arts & Crafts Movement.

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