The House of Dior was established on 16 December 1946, in "a private house" at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris. However, the current Dior corporation celebrates "1947" as the opening year. The new couture house became a part of "a vertically integrated textile business" already operated by Marcel Boussac, co-owner of the company along with Monsieur Christian Dior.
Until 1978 Dior brand was owned by Boussac Group, which filed for bankruptcy that year, and
On 12 February 1947, Dior launched his first fashion collection for Spring-Summer 1947. The show of "90 models of his first collection on six mannequins." was presented in the salons of the company's headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne. The new collection went down in fashion history as the "New Look" after the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Carmel Snow's exclamation, "It's such a New Look!" The signature shape was characterized by a below-mid-calf length, full-skirt, large bust (which had fallen from style in 1912), and small waist. In refutation to the post-war fabric restriction, Dior used twenty yards of extravagant fabrics in his creations. The New Look became extremely popular, its full-skirted silhouette influencing fashion and other designers well into the 1950s, and Dior gained a number of promiment high-profile clients from Hollywood, the United States and the European aristocracy as a result.
As for perfumes, the Dior corporation itself lists the founding of Christian Dior Parfums as 1947, with the launch of its first perfume, Miss Dior. Dior revolutionized the perfumery industry with the launch of the highly popular Miss Dior parfum, which was named after Catherine Dior (Christian Dior's sister).
When Christian Dior died in 1957, the Maison Dior bumped into chaos and General Manager Jacques Rouët considered shutting down operation worldwide. This possibility was not received graciously by Dior licensees and the French fashion industry; the Maison Dior was too important to the financial stability of the industry to allow such an action. To bring the label back on its feet, Rouët promoted the 21-year-old Yves Saint-Laurent to Artistic Director the same year. Laurent initially proved to have been the most appropriate choice after the debut of his first collection for Dior in 1958. The clothes were as meticulously made and perfectly proportioned as Dior’s in the same exquisite fabrics, but their young designer made them softer, lighter and easier to wear.
Saint Laurent was hailed as a national hero until 1960, when he had to join the French army and leave the House of Dior, being replaced by Marc Bohan in late 1960, who instilled his conservative style on the collections.
Under Bohan's direction, the Maison Dior launched two more collections: Baby Dior in 1967 and Christian Dior Homme in 1970.
From its establishment 'till 1978 the House of Dior was owned by Boussac Group, which filed for bankruptcy that very same year and sold the brand to the Willot Group.
Two year later Willot Group filed for bankruptcy, as well, so Bernard Arnault was able to by the historical maison far less than its real value in 1984 and in 1988, the new Christian Dior SA purchased a 32% stake in Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, starting a journey that will lead Mr. Arnault to be the head of the most powerful luxury group worldwide in the following decades.
In 1989 Italian Gianfranco Ferrè took the creative direction from Bohan, leaving behind traditional Dior associations of flirtation and romance, and introduced concepts and a style described as "refined, sober and strict."
In 1991 the Dior company was listed on the spot market and then on the Paris Stock Exchange's monthly settlement market and the company's control over brand products increased by reducing the number of licenses and franchised boutiques.
In 1997, under the influence of Anna Wintour, editor and chief of Vogue, CEO Bernard Arnault appointed British designer John Galliano to replace Gianfranco Ferré. While other brands in the late 1990s, notably Gucci, had resorted to porn chic as a mean to draw attention, Dior ads had such an impact that porn chic became a trend in most fashion ads. As a matter of fact, it is considered that Galliano has revolutionized Dior more through his advertising campaigns then through his designs.
In 2000, Christian Dior Homme lead designer Patrick Lavoix was replaced by Hedi Slimane, who changed the name of the menswear line in Dior Homme. Slimane has been in charge of the male collection until 2007, when he was replaced by Kris Van Assche.
The beginning of the 21st Century was very important for Dior, in fact it marked a booming period from every aspect: from the distribution, to the production and the advertising. New stores were opened in Italy, France, China and Japan, while watches and the fragrances departments boosted their production.
By February 2011, the House of Dior was in scandal after accusations of John Galliano making anti-Semitic remarks made international headlines: the company found itself in a "public relations nightmare." Galliano was fired in March and the scheduled presentation of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 ready-to-wear collection went ahead without him, amid the controversy, on 4 March. The company went on ahead and appointed Bill Gaytten as head designer interim in absence of artistic director. Gaytten had worked under Galliano for Dior and for the John Galliano label. The first haute-couture collection (for the Fall-Winter 2011 season) under Gaytten's management was presented in July and was received with mainly negative reviews. On 23 January 2012, Gaytten presented his second haute-couture collection (for the Spring-Summer 2012 season) for Dior and it was much better received than his first collection while Belgian designer Raf Simons was announced, on 11 April 2012, as the new artistic director of Christian Dior.
With Raf Simons the House of Dior signs the beginning of a new era, with collections directly inspired at Christian Dior's works, "wiping the [haute couture] slate clean and starting again from scratch."