Christian Dior is considered to have been the most influential fashion designer of the post-war period. He enjoyed much success during the late 1940s and 1950s.
In 1947, Dior broke into the world of fashion with his inaugural collection that delivered a fresh new look after a prolonged period of austerity. His opulent clothing was characterised by flowing skirts, dresses tightly nipped-in at the waist and fabulous creations featuring sloping shoulders. Famous clientele included Audrey Hepburn and the Duchess of Windsor.
Sadly, Christian Dior suffered a fatal heart attack, aged a mere 52 years of age, and responsibility for running the House of Dior fell to his former assistant, Yves Saint Laurent.
Christian Dior was a consummate businessman and revolutionised haute couture, by making it more accessible with ready-to-wear clothing. Moreover, he was an early exponent of licensing, leading to the sale of perfumes, cosmetics and stockings bearing his highly respected name.
The Dior name can also be found on beautiful timepieces. The designs of the brand’s watches originate from the stylish epicentre of haute couture, Paris. It is here, on Avenue Montaigne, that the artistic prowess of the maison is manifest with exquisite forms imaginatively conceived and artistically imparted to paper in two dimensional form. Thereafter, these concepts are sent to Les Ateliers, the Swiss-based HQ of Dior’s watchmaking operations, to be realised in 3D form using modern CAD techniques.
Dior chose to locate Les Ateliers in the watchmaking haven of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, allowing the maison to easily draw upon both experienced local watchmakers as well as a plethora of suitable suppliers. The movements powering some of the Dior timepieces have been sourced from the likes of Soprod and, fellow member of luxury group LVMH, Zenith.
By bringing Dior’s horological creations to life in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the company is able to place two special words that are synonymous with luxury upon the dials of its watches, ‘Swiss Made’.
Whilst men have not been overlooked by Dior, exampled with the eminently stylish Chiffre Rouge collection, the Dior name will forever be associated with imparting joy to ladies. Indeed, it is the Dior VIII collection which proves a wonderful illustration of how to capture women’s hearts with sublime styling.
Christian Dior was incredibly superstitious and reputed to place much importance on mystics. His ‘lucky’ number was the number ‘8’. He established his business on the 8th October 1946, a few months prior to the release of his inaugural collection. His business was located in the eighth arrondissement of Paris. This obsession with the number ‘8’ was recognised in recent years when the House of Dior opened a new boutique, home to its fine jewellery and watches at 8 Place Vendôme, Paris.
The Dior VIII collection is presented in a range of materials, however, the black ceramic models are probably the most striking. The cases and bezels feature a pyramid-like pattern and the dials employ batons to indicate the hours, save for 8 o’clock where the hour is denoted with stylish Roman numerals.
Perhaps the most visually striking watches within the Dior range of timepieces are the VIII Grand Bal watches featuring the brand’s Inversé calibres. These models are unashamedly decadent and perfectly suited to formal evening wear. The oscillating mass of a Dior VIII Grand Bal watch is presented centre stage of the dial, adorned with sumptuous materials such as feathers or gems. By adopting this approach, the oscillating mass is not only functional but delivers an abundance of style, evoking thoughts of swaying couture dresses in serene flow.
Dior watches might be made in Switzerland, but they will forever evince the savoir faire of the Paris-based maison. Indeed, just in case you may occasionally forget, each Dior VIII has an address on its caseback, ‘VIII place Vendôme’. A very lucky location for some ladies indeed.