Do you believe in signs and premonitions? Christian Dior certainly did, and if that is what is behind more than 70 years of collections and fashion shows, we should all be a little bit more superstitious.
In an evening of April 1946, Christian Dior is working at Lucien Lelong and something does not sit right with him. Marcel Boussac, also known as the ‘King of Cotton’, wants Dior to become the Artistic Director of ‘Philippe et Gaston’, but Dior is not completely sure; he knows this decision is important, as three times already chance has pointed him towards what he is convinced to be a ‘fabulous destiny’ waiting for him.
Just some days later, walking up the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (the heart of Paris, after which the St. Honoré Dior tote bag will be named), Dior hits his foot on an object, which makes him realize that he is right in front of the British Embassy. He takes this as a sign, as it makes him think of his childhood in Normandy and especially of his friend Georges Vigouroux, whom he encountered three consecutive times in Paris and who tried to convince Dior to embrace his future.
Christian Dior leans over and picks up the object he almost fell on: it is a star, his evening star indicating the path to follow. The next day, Dior announces that he will not take over “Philippe et Gaston” to open a fashion house in his own name. The rest is history.
The first collection was presented on 12 February 1947, and it burst into the scene. Of course, Dior had impatiently been waiting for the arrival of his lucky flower, the lily of the valley, of which he used to slip a sprig into the hem of every one of his haute couture models. He also kept a four-leaf clover, a piece of wood and many other things in his jacket pocket. But among all of these, he was particularly obsessed with numbers, especially the number 8, with his sensual form, “clean and curved, emphasized bosom, hollowed waist, accentuated hips”, as he described it.
Dior has always had a predilection for fortune tellers, premonitions and signs of destiny. Fortune tellers always accompanied him throughout his life, giving him a helping hand in making decisive career choices. In particular, he used to get psychic premonitions to know the destiny of his collection or the best day to present it to the public.
This obsession with superstition is still present in Dior’s collection, from the twinkling star on top of the Dior building in Ginza, to the Dior VIII watch, from the Autumn 2013 make-up collection that colors the face with ‘Mystic Metallic’ reflections, to the jewelry range from the Autumn-Winter 2013 fashion show that cast a spell by adorning the hands and ears with jewels resembling lucky charms. All these creations take good fortune as their theme, as though to bring eternal luck.
Fast forward just over a century after Dior’s first encounter with a fortune teller, the same fascinating world of the divinatory arts that so inspired Christian Dior have once more been interpreted by Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director at Dior, who looked to tarot cards for her Spring 2021 Dior Haute Couture Collection, reimagining their mystical characters and symbols through a magical collection reminiscent of an Old Masters painting.
Written by: Cesare Bergossi (LBSS Recruitment)