IThe five buildings on Avenue Montaigne must have looked like an apiary more than 70 years ago. Countless rooms in which diligent people in white coats worked and sewed from morning till night, a hodgepodge of ateliers for tailoring, hats, gloves and stockings, fitting rooms for photo models, salons for customers, as well as an elegant couturier’s office on the first floor and a little less a glamorous roofed infirmary in which a doctor looked after the welfare of the staff, which in 1952 had almost 1,000 employees.
Founded in 1946, the history of the fashion house Dior can now be admired in the Dior Gallery, located in the eastern part of the building complex. This includes the meteoric rise of Christian Dior, a young man from Normandy. After the Second World War, he opened a new era in fashion. The Frenchman’s New Look replaced the boxy dresses and jackets of the 1940s, emphasizing instead the waist and narrow shoulders. It was also a time of abundance. During the war, no more than three meters of fabric could be used on a dress, with Dior more than three times as much after the end of the war. The legendary fashion shows on the Avenue Montaigne lasted over two hours, and wealthy shoppers stayed there all day to try on and complete their wardrobe; after all, it was customary for secular ladies to change clothes for different occasions up to five times a day.
Even then, the business with the stars flourished. It is said that in 1950 Marlene Dietrich staged participation in Hitchcock’s Red Lola depending on whether she would be dressed in Dior: “No Dior, no Dietrich!” Maria Grazia Chiuri has been Creative Director of the luxury brand since 2016. the first woman in this post. The studios are still located in the building complex on Avenue Montaigne. Only the infirmary is no more, because not only the turnover exceeded the size of that time, but also the number of employees, which currently stands at 158,000 people worldwide.
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine
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