Famous fashion designers share the same birthday: Balenciaga and Dior

Fashion / Technology Dateline: January 21

Two famous fashion couturiers born January 21.  Ten years apart, Couturiers Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior celebrate the same birthday.

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972)

Spanish couturier celebrated for classic design elegance and dramatic simplicity.  In his early career as a designer in Spain, Balenciaga was successful. He opened a boutique in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1919, expanding to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs. When the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, he moved to Paris and opened a couture house on Avenue George V in 1937.

Aside from opening boutique shops, he also taught fashion design classes, inspiring other designers such as Oscar de la Renta, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Mila Schön and Hubert de Givenchy. Today the Balenciaga fashion house continues under the direction of Alexander Wang and under the ownership of the Gucci Group.  Balenciaga is notable as one of the few couturiers in fashion history who could use their own hands to design, cut, and sew the models which symbolized the height of his artistry.

Christian Dior  (1905-1957)

French couturier best known as the founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, now famously known as Christian Dior. He revolutionized women's clothes in 1947. He achieved international fame with his long skirted 'New Look' followed by the A-line, and 'the Sack.'

Christian Dior founded his fashion house on December 16, 1946, backed by Marcel Boussac, a cotton-fabric magnate. The actual name of the line of his first collection was Corolle (literally the botanical term corolla or circlet of flower petals in English), but the phrase New Look was coined for it by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar. Dior's designs were more voluptuous than the boxy, fabric-conserving shapes of the recent World War II styles, influenced by the rations on fabric.

He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes and quoted as saying: "I have designed flower women." His look employed fabrics lined predominantly with percale, boned, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist, giving his models a very curvaceous form.  Dior's New Look revolutionized women's dress and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion world after World War II. Today, be it fashion in fabric, fragrance, accessories, or skin care, the brand is simply known as Christian Dior.


Previously published 21 Jan 2013, brought forward.  

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