While the Dior Eyewear line is among the finest and most beautiful on the market today, the brand has a long pioneering history, influencing some of the most renowned designers of all time.
Officially started in 1946, the brand celebrates 1947 as its founding year since that was when Christian Dior’s first fashion collection. Originally employed by the House of Lucien Lelong as a designer, Christian Dior knew his own collections soon garner the attention he knew he deserved. Soon after his first Spring/Summer collection was released, he had the honor of being presented with the Fashion Oscar by Neiman Marcus. Lauded almost instantly by the fashion press, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar praised his designs, claiming he was ushering in a brand new look for women’s dresses. This new look wasn’t anything the fashion world hadn’t ever seen before, but the focus on elegance and incredible attention to detail and subtleties are was set his designs apart from the rest.
Soon after the release of this collection, Dior launched his line of perfume and appointed his childhood friend, Serge Heftler-Louiche, as director. Soon after, the iconic Miss Dior, named after his sister’s nickname, was released. The fragrance was created by Paul Vacher and Jean Carles with direction by Dior himself, instructing the two to create a perfume “that is like love.” The two succeeded and made one of the most iconic fragrances in the history of European fashion house perfumes.
As the brand’s recognition grew, so did its international appeal and worldwide notoriety. Opening its first store in New York City, the brand opened its Fifth Avenue doors in 1948 with an exclusive collection of luxury ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. This marked an important milestone for the company, as many European brands of similar appeal often times never branched out into the United States market, much less had a store on Fifth Avenue.
By 1951, the company had over 900 people in its employ and the praise from fashion magazines and publications wasn’t slowing down. Whether articles in Harper’s Bazaar or ELLE magazine, Dior had become a darling of the fashion world, grabbing the eyes of critics and celebrities alike. Christian Dior had become a bit of a celebrity himself, leveraging his newfound fame into writing success as he published his first book in the same year, titled “Talking About Fashion.”
Before his death in 1957, Christian Dior made sure to let his closest confidantes know that Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior’s assistant since 1955, was to be appointed as the Creative Director of the brand. After his passing in Montecatini, Italy, on October 24, the brand took on a new direction and would go on to influence a plethora of brands and designers for decades to come.
The Dior brand released its first pair of sunglasses in 1969. Designed by Wilhelm Anger the earliest Austrian-made Dior sunglasses were made of acetate and featured a large, round design that would for the genesis of the Dior eyewear aesthetic for years to come. One of the main reasons the brand was so successful in both selling its own designs and influencing others was its attention to shape and form. The company understood how important the sense of femininity was to the buyers, and the designs remained true to this philosophy.
The next major advancement in the Dior eyewear evolution was the development of Optyl, an all-new kind of plastic that was lighter and stronger than most other acetates on the market. This new technology ensured that the brand could succeed where others failed. It meant no shape was off limits, and in an industry that thrives off futuristic designs and next-level forms, this material gave Dior a huge leg up over the competition. Now when the brand wanted to create pieces in the same tradition as their fine jewelry, there were no limitations to how creative they could get. This was when high-end glasses stopped being about protection and started to highlight personal style.
To this day, the brand’s line of eyewear is as in-demand and sought-after as any other brand on the market, and it all started with the passion Christian Dior had for his firm.