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A Comparison of Old and New : Dior


Bang Creative Director Derek shot by Matty Parks for Haus Magazine
Dior model Renee in his “New Look” creation The Bar Suit of 1947-Photo Willy Maywald


Dior is one of the most recognisable fashion house’s on the planet that has been a pioneer in the fashion industry since its establishment by Christian Dior in 1946. From it’s very first collection, which was famously dubbed as the 'New Look', Dior has continuously set trends and influenced the way women dress. However, as the fashion industry evolves, so did the Dior brand. Throughout the years, there have been significant changes in the design aesthetic, creative direction, and overall image of Dior. We will be exploring and comparing the old Dior, which is the legacy of Christian Dior, to the Galliano Dior, which was led by the renowned designer John Galliano.

Christian Dior was a lover of art and often drew inspiration from paintings and sculptures for his designs. He also collaborated with artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, further blurring the lines between fashion and art. Dior's designs were not just clothing; they were works of art that were celebrated by the art community. Today, the brand continues this tradition of merging fashion and art through collaborations with contemporary artists, such as KAWS and Daniel Arsham.

The House of Dior has also played a crucial role in shaping popular culture. Dior's designs have been worn by some of the most influential figures in history, from Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly to modern-day icons like Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence. The brand's presence in pop culture has made it a household name and has helped to solidify its status as a symbol of luxury and sophistication. Dior's iconic designs have also been featured in films, television shows, and music videos, further cementing its place in popular culture.

The old Dior, under the leadership of Christian Dior, was known for its elegant and feminine designs that revolutionised post-war fashion. His debut collection in 1947, which featured full skirts and nipped-in waists, was a stark contrast to the boxy and utilitarian styles that were prevalent during that time. The collection was met with both praise and criticism, but it undoubtedly put Dior on the map as a fashion house that was not afraid to take risks.

© The Bert Stern Trust
Marilyn Monroe in Vogue 1962 , captured by Bert Stern

The old Dior also had a distinct brand image that exuded luxury and sophistication. The brand's logo, which features the iconic font and emblem, became synonymous with high fashion. Dior's use of luxurious fabrics and intricate detailing in his designs further solidified the brand's reputation as a symbol of opulence. The brand also established a strong relationship with Hollywood stars, with actresses such as Marlene Dietrich and Grace Kelly donning Dior creations on and off the screen. This association with glamour and celebrity further elevated Dior's status as a luxury fashion brand.On the other hand, the Galliano Dior, which began in 1997 , was a stark departure from the old Dior. John Galliano a CSM Graduate previously at Givenchy, took over as the creative director for all collections, brought a new and avant-garde approach to the brand. The Galliano Dior also differed from the old Dior in terms of its brand image. While the old Dior was associated with luxury and sophistication, Galliano's Dior was more edgy and daring. This New Era at Dior had a strong focus on the younger market, with celebrities like Paris Hilton , Lil Kim , Nicole Kidman & Missy Elliott  donning the brand's designs. This shift in brand image was a reflection of the changing fashion landscape, where streetwear and youth culture were becoming more influential versus the older image of wealth and status.

Moreover, the House of Dior has also had a lasting impact on the economy. With its global presence and multi-billion dollar revenue, the brand has created countless jobs and opportunities for people around the world. Dior's success has also inspired other fashion houses to strive for excellence, leading to the growth and development of the fashion industry as a whole. The brand's influence on the economy extends beyond the fashion industry, as it has also contributed to the growth of the luxury market and tourism in cities like Paris, where the brand is based.


Christian Dior's First Fashion Show
The Debut of the Iconic Bar Jacket at Dior's First Runway Presentation, "New Look" On 12 February 1947


One of the most significant differences between the old Dior and the Galliano Dior was their runway collections. The Christian Dior's collections were known for their timeless and elegant designs, while the John Galliano’s were more avant-garde and often pushed the boundaries of fashion & the concept of silhouette.

The old Dior characterised by feminine silhouettes, rich colours, and intricate details. Dior's iconic Bar suit, which featured a tailored jacket and a full skirt, was a staple in many of his collections. The Galliano Dior, on the other hand, featured bold and eccentric designs such as the that were a reflection of Galliano's creative vision & experimental practises during his time at CSM. His collections often had a theme, and he used elements from different eras and cultures to create a unique and theatrical collection. For instance, Galliano's Spring/Summer 2004 Couture collection, 'Egyptomania', heavily embellished Egyptian-inspired designs pulling from various religious iconography & god's from Egyptian Culture was juxtaposed with a futuristic aesthetic when it was presented on a sleek purple minimal curated catwalk.

creative director of bang london photographed by matty parks for haus magazine
Erin O'Connor for Dior Couture 2004 by Marcio Madeira

Despite these differences, both old Dior and Galliano Dior shared a common thread – they both pushed the boundaries of fashion. Dior's use of unconventional silhouettes and Galliano's avant-garde designs challenged the traditional notions of beauty and femininity.

Both designers were also unafraid to take risks and experiment with different techniques and materials. This bold and innovative approach to fashion has cemented Dior's position as a fashion powerhouse.The old Dior and Galliano Dior may have differed in many aspects, from design aesthetic to brand image. Still, they both played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry and influencing the way we dress. The old Dior's elegant and feminine designs set the foundation for the brand, while Galliano's avant-garde and theatrical approach brought a new and exciting energy to Dior.

Together, these two eras represent the evolution of Dior as a fashion house, continuously adapting to the ever-changing fashion landscape while staying true to its core values of luxury, innovation, and creativity.

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