It’s nice seeing collections come down the runway but it’s also nice knowing the history and backstory of individual designers, and their entry into the fashion industry. Gone are the days when fashion publications delved under the surface of brands with historical stories in its pages, but Dior is doing something about that. The famed Parisian house has had its informative podcast for a while now, and ‘The Many Lives of Christian Dior,’ dives into the life of Mr. Christian Dior and the time in which he helmed his eponymous label.
The house has unfolded this history in five episodes, telling in chronological order and unpacking significant parts of the designer’s life that impacted his fashion career. Starting with his childhood at Granville in Normandy, a place that ignited his love of floral environments. It continues to his arrival in Paris towards the end of the Belle Époque era that ushered in the Roaring Twenties. It was in the City of Lights that his curiosity for culture unfolded. Episodes three and four are more tragic periods for Dior of when his mother died, and when he developed an illness and financial challenges, as well as the internment of his sister Catherine. It was after these tests that his career took off with his monumental inaugural runway show and a decade as the head of the brand.
Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon and French actor Lambert Wilson are two of the main voices that participate in the podcast. Chosen because they are friends of the house, it is Lambert who has played inspiring men like De Gaulle and Cousteau on screen. So, it was a no brainer for him to embody Dior in the episodes. Le Bon is noted for her “light” and “tone” by the house for the series, and her knowledge of French- as well as Wilson’s- that made it all the easier for them to participate.
The series also humanizes Dior, helping listeners to understand him as more than just the brand name. Many may not know but Dior gave lots of interviews during his time, as well as lectures at the Sorbonne, and wrote ‘Little Dictionary of Fashion,’ and, an autobiography: ‘Dior by Dior.’ Showing his struggles, which inevitably shaped him allows fashion connoisseurs, history buffs, and those simply interested in the topic to learn more about him on a personal and relatable level.
The podcast also explains in Dior’s rise, his 30 Avenue Montaigne space created is famed collections. The iconic space in central Paris has reopened after two years, showing a deeper level to the house’s history. Like a museum in parts, it’s a symbolic space that shows, as the house is calling it, “the beating heart of fashion and creativity,” in a seventy-year period.