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July 13, 2022

45 Stunning Photos of ’50s Beauties in Dior Dresses

French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905–1957) began his fashion career by selling sketches of hats to Parisians in 1935. He drew dresses too, but initially his hats were more in demand. Dior worked hard on his dress designs, though, and three years later he was employed by Robert Piguet.

Classic beauties in Dior dresses in the 1950s

At the onset of war, Dior went to fight in the south of France. Returning to Paris in 1941, he worked in Lucien Lelong’s fashion house.

With the war over and the world looking for something new, Dior established his own house in 1946, backed by the textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac. For his first collection, Dior created the New Look for which his fashion house became renowned. Its feminine elegance, with delicate shoulders, tight waist and full skirt, was inspired by the spirit of Parisian women. The opulence of his designs contrasted with the grim post-war reality of Europe, and helped re-establish Paris as the joyful fashion capital it had once been.

In the 11 years before his death, Dior dictated European style. Each of his collections had a theme – the classic suit, the ballerina skirt and the H, A and Y lines that ruled the early 1950s.

Dior was first to arrange licensed production of his designs. Furs, stockings, ties and perfume were manufactured in regional centers across the world, spreading his brand name quickly about the globe. When he died suddenly in Italy, in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior’s assistant of four years, took over as head designer.

These stunning photos captured portraits of classic beauties wearing Dior dresses in the 1950s.

Jean Patchett in Dior's cocktail sheath with fox fur muff, Vogue, October 1, 1950

Model in slim-fitting cocktail dress by Christian Dior, 1950

Sylvie Hirsch in strapless taffeta evening gown sashed and draped to to the side in contrasting lemon, by Christian Dior, photo by Dior, Christian, 1950

Dovima in Dior's ball gown of tulle and velvet embroidered with sparkling flowers, the velvet overskirt hooks on and off, Ektachrome by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, December 1950

Gown by Christian Dior, photo by Cecil Beaton, 1951

Jean Patchett in Christian Dior's blue and white satin evening gown and stole, photo by Toni Frissell, Vogue, October 1, 1951

Marie-Thérèse in dark green wool suit, short notched jacket is worn over black satin blouse, large brimmed hat is of black velvet as is the muff, by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, 1951

Princess Margaret in ball gown by Christian Dior, photo by Cecil Beaton, 1951

Sylvie Hirsch in summer ensemble of blue shantung coat worn over white piqué dress with double skirt embroidered with dragonflies and various garden insects, by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, 1951

Dior ice-blue satin ball dress and stole, 1952. Photographed at Pavillon Colombe, the Duchess of Talleyrand's house at St. Brice in France by Frances McLaughlin-Gill

Dorian Leigh in Dior's billowing peacock-patterned above-the-ankle dress, the skirt puffed with layers of inverted pleats with velvet peacock's eyes encircled with sequins, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar UK, December 1952

Fiona Campbell-Walter in Dior's 'Red Pepper' outfit of a fine silky woolen. The name came from the cap which is like a pepper complete with stalk, photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill, Vogue, October 1, 1952

Model in gala evening ball gown of silk moiré and matching stole by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, 1952

Sophie Malgat in an exquisite evening gown of coral embroidered organdy with moss green sash and stole by Christian Dior, L'Officiel, 1952

Sophie Malgat in egg-shell flannel suit with collar scarf, worn with collarless panther fur jacket that has slits on the side by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, 1952

Suzy Parker wearing a white chiffon strapless gown by Christian Dior, photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill, 1952

Sylvie Hirsch in Dior's silk surah dress that evokes a gypsy dancer, photo by Philippe Pottier, L'Officiel, 1952

Anne Gunning in finely pleated floral print dress with matching coat lined in pink satin by Christian Dior, photo by Henry Clarke, Paris Vogue, May 1953

Anne Gunning is wearing Dior's rose printed chiffon with rose silk coat lined in the same print, photo by Henry Clarke, Vogue UK, May 1953

Bettina Graziani wearing a pink strapless gown and embellished organdy coat from Dior, photo by Henry Clarke, Paris, May 1953

Christian Dior gown, photo by Cecil Beaton, 1953

Evelyn Tripp in dress by Christian Dior and jewelry by Verdura, photo by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue, March 15, 1953

Sophie Malgat and unidentified model in full-skirted, colorful silk floral print evening gowns by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, 1953

Sophie Malgat in gown by Christian Dior, photo by Mark Shaw, November 1953

Sophie Malgat in pale lilac silk print and chiffon gown by Christian Dior, Spring Collection, 1953, photo by Walter Carone, Paris

A beautiful rust colored brocade gown with velvet coat and a strapless winter gown trimmed in mink, by Christian Dior, 1954

Model in Dior's evening ensemble called "Moulin Rouge", Autumn/Winter Collection H-Line 1954, photo by Mark Shaw, Maison Dior, Paris

Renée Breton in wool dress gathered and draped at the hip worn with wide-brimmed hat by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier, L'Officiel, 1954

Anne St. Marie in Christian Dior's pink satin theatre coat worn with matching hat and pumps, photo by Karen Radkai, Paris, Vogue, July 1955

Anne St. Marie wearing evening dress of thin black organdie woven with polka-dots and fitted over blue tafetta, sashed at the waist in pale blue by Dior, photo by Karen Radkai, Vogue, 1955

Lia in Dior's India-inspired dress called "Soirée de Lahore", Autumn/Winter Collection Y-Line 1955, photo by Mark Shaw, Paris

Mary Jane Russell in Opaline Royal Canadian fox stole by Christian Dior, diamond and ruby jewelry by Cartier, photo by Virginia Thoren, 1955

Oriental look appears in Dior's velvet dress with lavish gold embroidery repeated in the shoes modeled by Dorothy Tristan, photo by Mark Shaw in a Parisian 12th century court, 1955

Dorian Leigh in floral print satin ball gown by Christian Dior, 1956

Dovima in Dior's silk two-piece day dress, photo by Henry Clarke, Vogue, June 1956

Dovima in gorgeous yellow organdie-silk evening dress, high at the bosom with full skirt worn under coat of gray flowers on black silk by Dior, shoes by Vivier, photo by Henry Clarke, Vogue, 1956

Marie-Helene in Christian Dior's red organdy dress with detachable floating panel, photo by Philippe Pottier, L'Officiel, 1956

Jacqueline de Ribes is wearing a Dior gown and Raymundo de Larrain's special headdress for Alexis de Rédé's Bal de Têtes, photo by Michel Petit, 1957

Model in dress by Dior, photo by Mark Shaw, Paris, 1957

Simone d'Aillencourt in Dior's evening gown, photo by Philippe Pottier, L'Officiel, March 1957

Svetlana in Dior's sleeveless printed silk with taffeta coat and large picture hat, photo by Loomis Dean, Paris, 1957

Victoire in strapless creation by Yves Saint Laurent for Dior, shoes by Roger Vivier for Dior, photo by Sabine Weiss, 1958

Alla is wearing print taffeta and lamé short evening dress by Christian Doir, photo by Georges Saad, 1959

Model in paisley print chiffon evening dress intricately ruffled and draped by Yves Saint Laurent for Dior, February 1959

Rose Marie in rose silk print pleated dress and matching coat by Christian Dior, photo by Philippe Pottier at Château de Versailles, 1959


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