WORDS BY LUCY HARDY
History of Dior
For a designer who helmed his namesake brand for just 10 years out of a 73-year history, Christian Dior’s impact upon fashion — both past and present, couldn’t be greater. His legendary 1947 ‘New Look’ revolutionised the post-war period, with his famous silhouette of cinched-in waists, padded hips and voluminous skirts signalling a return to prosperity, glamour and staunch femininity.
The designer’s premature death in 1957 gave way to a new era in fashion, one defined by youth and rebellion, with Dior’s successor Yves Saint Laurent leading the charge. Five more Creative Directors have followed, each leaving their own mark on the Parisian fashion house, from Marc Bohan’s ‘Slim Look’ to the controversial creativity of John Galliano.
But perhaps the brightest shining stars in the Dior legacy are its bags. From the Lady Dior and the Saddle bag to the Dior Montaigne and the Diorama, each design holds a history of its own. Take a trip into the Dior archives with our guide to the most iconic Christian Dior Bags.
A bag fit for a princess. The Lady Dior, originally named the Chouchou, was made especially for Princess Diana upon her visit to Paris in 1995. The original design gifted to the Princess was a structured style in quilted black leather, dangling with the brand’s logo. Dior decided to officially release the bag in 1996 and changed its name to Lady Dior in honour of the Princess. With Diana being a style icon for many, naturally the bag proved very popular, becoming available in a range of colourways.
Giddy-up. The Trotter Saddle Bag — known simply as the Dior Saddle Bag, has become an everlasting icon in Dior’s history. The style was first conceived in ‘99 at the height of John Galliano’s Dior tenure, as well as peak ‘It-bag’ era. The monogram design birthed logomania and the equestrian-inspired style was spotted on every tastemaker of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s we know and love, from ‘Sex and The City’s’ Carrie Bradshaw to Paris Hilton. The Saddle bag dropped off the radar for a while, only to make a recent resurgence alongside fashion’s ‘90s nostalgia and the trend for vintage bags. Find the Dior Saddle Bag in countless prints and colourways.
When Raf Simons took the Dior helm in 2012, he tasked himself with contemporising haute couture, bringing the ladylike traditions of the house to a younger, modern woman. The Diorama is the lovechild of the Simons era. This bag borrows from vintage feminine silhouettes with its classic flap and minimal branding, with a signature diamond-shape clasp and chain strap as its only detailing — striking the perfect balance between traditional femininity and modernity.
Another of Raf Simons’ creations, the Diorissimo tote bag showcases the brand’s craftsmanship excellence, made from smooth leather in a rainbow array of colour options. The Diorissimo is a modern update on the Lady Dior, offering unstructured practicality whilst retaining the classic top-handle design and logo decoration. This Dior tote bag comes in a choice of three sizes.
Happily Diorever after. Whoever the Creative Director, one thing is for certain, Dior has a knack for merging the old with the new and the Diorever tote bag illustrates this beautifully. This bag icon is timeless with its simple shape, high-tech magnetic flap closure and striking colours, including powerful black and fresh shades of goji pink, peach, lemon yellow and Yves Klein blue. Trends come and go, but the Diorever is forever.
Once you decide which Dior handbag to buy, you’re going to want to do everything you can to preserve its legacy so you can wear it again and again. Here are our top tips for how to take care of your vintage Dior bag.
· Invest in a leather polish to keep your leather bag shining.
· To clean a Dior fabric bag, use a damp cloth to get rid of any marks.
· Keep the bag in its dust bag or a box when it’s not out and about.
· Stuff with tissue paper to preserve the bag’s shape.
· Consider treating your bag to a professional clean once a year.