The 16th December 1946 will forever represent the beginning of the Dior empire; it was the date that French couturier, Christian Dior, established the House on Avenue Montaigne in the eighth arrondissement of Paris.

In the time since Christian Dior helmed his eponymous Maison, six influential creative directors – Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Maria Grazia Chiuri have all taken the reins and upheld its staying power with a constant adaptation to the times, and dynamic and diverse ways of thinking. Their idiosyncratic approaches and innovative minds have now rightfully warranted a compendium of hefty hard-back tomes that reflect on their own unique legacies.

Compiled in tandem with the storied designer’s 70th anniversary last year, publisher Assouline released the first volume of the series, which seeks to chronologically spotlight the House of Dior, starting with its founder. Yves Saint Laurent, who drove the brand for a brief, but impactful, two years between 1958 and 1960, made for the second instalment – and now we welcome the tome dedicated to the Maison’s longest serving Creative Director (even outdoing the namesake man himself), Marc Bohan, whose tenure spanned over two decades from 1961 to 1989.

To celebrate the living legend (the 91-year-old now resides in his 18th Century country home in Burgundy, France), writer and journalist, Jérôme Hanover, conducted three lengthy interviews to paint the picture of his notoriously secretive life, which accompany beautiful images of his creations captured by contemporary Parisian photographer, Laziz Hamani.

Among the works include the ‘Rosine’ short dress cut in ivory silk gabardine from his seminal Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1961 show; a playful trapeze dress embroidered with multi-coloured paisley motifs from Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1969 that wonderfully captures the zeitgeist of the epoch; and an astonishing evening ensemble in red and blue satin with a trompe-l’œil collar, embroidered with a floral motif in red paillettes and black beads from Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1983.

With Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly among his legion of loyal fans, Bohan’s impact on the world of couture and design is the stuff of legend. He is fabled for saying, “elegance is simplicity in refinement” – to which we respond, bien sûr!

Click here to shop and read Dior by Marc Bohan from Assouline. All images courtesy of Assouline. 

Book Club:

 Pomellato: Since 1967

+ Margiela, The Hermès Years

+ Posturing: Writing the Body in Fashion