(born Jan. 21, 1905, Granville, France — died Oct. 24, 1957, Montecatini, Italy) French fashion designer. He trained for the French diplomatic service, but in the financial crisis of the 1930s he began illustrating fashions for a weekly periodical. In 1942 he joined the house of the Parisian designer Lucien Lelong. In 1947 he introduced his revolutionary "New Look," which featured small shoulders, a natural waistline, and a voluminous skirt, a drastic change from the World War II look of padded shoulders and short skirts. In the 1950s the "sack," or "H" line, became the characteristic silhouette of his designs. He was instrumental in commercializing Parisian fashion on a worldwide scale.
Widely known for his full-bodied ‘New Look’, which was launched in 1947 and captured the attention of women on both sides of the Atlantic after the material restrictions of the Second World War. This romantic, highly feminized style was characterized by a thin waist and long, full skirts and narrow bodice, as a result attracting censure in some quarters on account of its implicit undermining of the new freedoms enjoyed by women in the war years. Dior began his fashion career in Paris in the mid-1930s and, after military service in the south of France during the Second World War, returned to Paris in 1944. After a period in the fashion house of Lucien Lelong he opened his own establishment in 1946 and did much to re-establish Paris as the ‘fashion capital’ of the world after the disruption of war. In 1948 he agreed to the licensed production of clothes, perfumes, ties, and other accessories as a means of spreading the Dior name internationally. After the highly popular ‘New Look’ of 1947 Dior was responsible for a number of striking new lines launched annually, the best known of which was perhaps the ‘A’ line of 1956, following on from the ‘H’ line of 1954 and the ‘Y’ line of 1955. A number of distinguished designers have been involved with the House of Dior, including Yves Saint Laurent, who took over after Dior's sudden death. Other distinguished designers followed including Gianfranco Ferre and John Galliano.