25th April 1950 - Fashion couturier Christian Dior with six of his models after a fashion parade at the Savoy Hotel, London.
Fortunately, for my readers, my “reach” extends far beyond the here and now. With that being said, via a serendipitous stream of events, I was recently able to communicate with the late great Christian Dior. He and I were able to discuss a few very pressing topics and some of which only border on the frivolous. Monsieur Dior was quite a coup for me as I have not been able to reach that far back with my previous subjects who have included Mademoiselle Chanel, Yves St Laurent, the wondrous Diana Vreeland and even the surreal Mademoiselle Schiaparelli.
On February 12 we will celebrated the 67th anniversary of Monsieur Dior’s first show which debuted in 1947. With that in mind and in his eternal memory, may I offer my “impossible conversation” with “the king of fashion” … Christian Dior
What is your current state of mind?
I am quite happy, tres content, now with no worries of what I eat or when the next collection will be ready or what the new dress lengths should be. I just wish that fashion was more chic, MORE ORIGINAL and less democratic...n’est-ce pas?
What do you think of the present state of fashion?
Mon Dieu! As Holly Golightly would say... Quel mess!! I don’t recognize the world of fashion in Paris. Too many young designers of little talents who think that designers need words to explain their clothes... mais non... the clothes should speak for themselves! C’est vrai? Oui? Oui I speak of that riff raff Raf! That silly Nicky boy…
What do you think of the Celebrity/Model idea?
I really don’t care much as I was always more concerned about who wore the clothes rather than the clothes being worn by...you see my point... tu vois? For me it was always about “mes robes” and not the clients. I knew all the great clothes horses, the great social doyennes and the greatest of film stars. I just wanted them all to wear beautifully made clothes that were well designed.
Who are you sorry you missed during your career?
je suis désolé...how you say... sorry that I never got to see the meteoric rise of Yves or what le pauvre Galliano did for my legacy. I would have loved to discuss construction with McQueen or even Mugler. They understood the mécaniques of fashion and design. I am so sad to have missed Madame Vreeland and Avedon and the likes of Polly Mellen
What's your advice about stardom?
You must enjoy your fame while you can and never forget that the business is about beautiful clothes and not about you. Oh and PLEASE take care of your health as life can be very short!!
What was your crowning achievement?
I had many and only some were associated with fashion. Oui, yes of course the New Look and yes of course my grey maison. I was able to do many things that gratified me such as my interest in art and my garden, mes jardins, mes fleurs. And my beloved Granville. And of course there is the legacy of my name which was made possible when that young man Arnault bought my suffering brand and transformed it into the behemoth that it is today. Merci Bernie!
Who was your favorite designer?
This is a very difficult question since I have so much time to re-examine the world of fashion these days. There are some famous designers and not so famous but I would lie if I said I was not in awe of Cristobal... I may have been “the king of fashion” but it was he who was “the master of us all!” Beside the most “incroyable” of designers, he was such a man of great elegance.
With whom would you like to split a bottle of champagne? Name one or more.
Aaaaaaah so many I need to speak with, but so many are already living nearby, I will have to search them out and take a café with them and hear about fashion as they saw it... oh pardon .. The question, yes... Yves, And Alexander, Diana, Ferre and then the ones who have yet to make an appearance here like the bad boy Galliano or maybe that young woman Sarah. There are few greats and so many who are impostors.
Who would you like to mentor in this generation?
I would like to “watch over” a few designers who may not be as well-known as they should be and that is because you are not blessed with editors or fashion arbiters who have good taste or are sage enough to appreciate talents without worrying about ads or graft or speaking the truth... ah le question... there is a designer in California I like because he has so much of my personality, sensibilities and nature … and of course they understand design ..Oh yes... excuse moi!! LOYD/FORD...oh you don’t know... Well you need to look, open your eyes and learn and then there are those in France like Andrew Gn, Giamba and even that rascal Mabille.
Do you think fashion/celebrity is taken too seriously?
Comme I say deja... you must not forget this is a business of clothes,vetements not the personalities who wear them. Today these almost famous women wear clothes that they are paid to wear or receive for free...bah … merde! This is not fashion or fame this is trollopes!
Who do you think has little talent as a Designer/Performer/Artist?
OOOH la la... there is not enough time to speak of these unfortunate souls who only believe that they are talented. Yes les pauvres who don’t realize that they are only famous for the clothes and not for their thoughts... without the clothes many would be professeurs or maybe... oh how you say … garcons de courses... aaaah... messengers or delivery men... oui the kind who ride bicyclettes! I am deeply saddened with this Raf character who talks too much and tries to mangle my ideas into monstrosities that do not deserve my name… little Bernie needs to wise up!!
How would you like to come back in a second life?
I would like to try my life as a haute monde Martha Stewart en francais or maybe even be the designer of my own brand again as the world has changed and there are so many countries and ladies to now consider.. I want to come back and enjoy my life to the fullest with no memories of war or deprivation.
(L) Christian Dior in his Paris salon, 1948. (R) Christian Dior, photo by Loomis Dean, 1957.
(L) Christian Dior Prepares the 1955 Autumn/Winter collection. Model wearing the ‘Première soirée’ dress. (R) Stockings were highlighted for the first time when Christian Dior exhibited his French collection - March 11, 1948 Paris, France.