...and with Lucien Lelong where he made many fashion drawings, including this one in 1942. The lines of this dress give us a hint of what is to come!
In 1946, backed by a wealthy textile manufacturer, Dior opened his own fashion studio on Avenue Montaigne. One of his earliest designs, "The Bar Suit" became a featured garment when Christian Dior presented his first haute couture show in February 1947. He was completely unknown to the public, but that would not last long.
From the same year, this flowing velvet wonder is known as the "Sargent" dress.
Two years later, Princess Margaret wore another sumptuous gown from the House of Dior for her official 21st birthday photograph by Cecil Beaton. She was a devoted Dior client.
...here, he gently adjusts the model Renée's collar before she takes to the runway...
...and here he sits with his close colleagues and collaborators, most of whom, it should be noted, are women. He was known to be extremely polite with everybody, always finding time for a kind word, no matter how busy he was.
The 1950s saw the rise of fashion photography, something Dior took great advantage of. This "Day Dress" from 1950 was photographed by Henry Clarke...
...whilst in 1955, the glamorous model, Dovima, happily allowed herself to be posed with elephants from the Cirque d'Hiver by Richard Avedon. Dovima is wearing the first evening dress designed by Dior's new assistant, Yves Saint Laurent!
One more from this section that caught my eye was this 1960 faille bustier cocktail dress from Yves Saint Laurent.
This portrait by Bernard Buffet in 1954, shows Dior at the height of his powers and influence. People flocked to his fashion house on Avenue Montaigne. His business expanded globally, and by the following year accounted for over 50% of French haute couture items exported abroad.
Over the years, these designers have continued to bring breathtaking fashion to runways throughout the world, building on Dior's unique vision: his love of women, of beauty, of art. The exhibition has many rooms devoted to examples of their work -- many are flamboyant, tribal, some derivative of the works of modern artists like Jackson Pollock or André Derain, some highly decorative -- all seeking to have the same impact as when Christian Dior first stepped onto the stage in 1947. Although, to be honest, my eyes always seem to drift back to Dior's early work, with its fresh, clean and really quite simple approach to the art of fashion.