While Gabrielle Chanel famously told women they should always remove one accessory before leaving the house, for Christian Dior, jewelryisn’t a discreet finishing touch but a central part of any outfit. “As a rule I would use jewelry generously to get the most out of it,” he wrote in his pocket style guide, The Little Dictionary of Fashion. “A many stoned necklace of rhinestones for instance will look lovely with a décolleté frock for evening. It will go equally with a fine black knitted sweater for afternoons.” Christian’s Spring 1947 debut featured the instantly iconic New Look silhouette, a Bar jacket with rounded shoulders and a cinched waist, paired with a very full skirt. A repudiation of the austere styles of the 1920s and 1930s, the collection offered equally opulent and ultra-feminine jewelry. The suits were shown with crystal drop necklaces and earrings — and haloed drop stones remain a classic motif of the house of Dior to this day.
Believing that jewelry should be fanciful and fun, Christian Dior forged new relationships for Dior in the costume jewelry space. In 1955, he struck a licensing agreement with the German manufacturer Henkel & Grossé, which is largely responsible for the development of the French maison’s ladylike jewelry motifs, including bows, lily of the valley flowers, and pearls.
CHRISTIAN DIOR HENKEL & GROSSE 1964 GREEN GLASS BEADS MULTI STRAND NECKLACE
Over the past six plus decades, Henkel & Grossé has remained an important partner to Dior’s founder and the six creative directors — Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferrè, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri — who have followed him (in 2005 Henkel & Grossé was acquired by Dior). Rhinestones are supplied by the Austrian crystal house Swarovski, which in 1956 created Dior’s signature Aurora Borealis stone, coated in vaporized blue metal to provide multi-hued iridescence that shines like the Northern Lights.
1958 Christian Dior Blue Peacock Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Flower or Cross Brooch
Logosare another important element of Dior’s jewelry repertoire. Marc Bohan introduced punkish crystal chain logo bracelets in the 1970s and gold medallion logo earrings in the 1980s.
During the height of logo mania in the 1990s and 2000s, John Galliano created all sorts of playful riffs on Dior branding including webbed grommet strap bracelets, with insignia plaques; enamel flaming ‘D’ earrings, spotted on Samantha on an episode of Sex and the City; and gold medical ID bracelets with DIOR in place of a patient’s name. Galliano also took creative license with Dior’s Oblique monogram, transposing the slanted repetitions of the brand’s insignia on Trotter rings, named after his popular Trotter saddle bags. Like all Dior jewelry they are individualistic and beautifully detailed conversation pieces.