Christian Dior was born on January 21, 1905 in the lovely seaside town of Granville, France. The family lived very nicely from the proceeds of the fertilizer business they owned. His father subsidized the art gallery Dior and a friend had opened in Paris. When his father lost the family business, Dior had to close the gallery. He got a job as a designer with Lucien Lelong in 1942. Ironically, while Dior was designing dresses for the wives of Nazi officers, his sister, who worked for the Resistance, ended up at the Ravensbrück concentration camp until her release in 1945.
Dior went out on his own in 1946. His first collection, “Corolle”, was dubbed “The New Look” by American fashion editor Carmel Snow, of Harper’s Bazaar. Dior’s curvaceous designs were imagined for “flower women.” He died on October 23, 1957 under circumstances that are a little obscure. His childhood home, “Les Rhumbs” is now a terrific small museum. I really enjoyed a visit there a few years ago. I am quite willing to store some of their overflow for them at anytime.
Today’s expression, conter fleurette à (kontay fluret ah) literally means “to recount blossoms to” and figuratively means “to flirt with” or “to woo.” The full skirts on a Dior dress for a “flower woman” are still delightfully flirtatious 65 years later.