QUEL SCANDALE! Presents Fashion Fascists: Christian Dior’s “Nazi Look”
After Hugo Boss recently apologized for its namesake founder’s Nazi past, we’ve realized that designers were heiling Hitler left and right all up and through the 20th century. So in light of this — and of the coming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana (mazel!) — we’re highlighting the biggest fascists in fashion history as part of our ongoing Quel Scandale! feature. First up, Christian Dior got down and Nazi decades before John Galliano drunkenly slurred his way right out of a job.
Christian Dior — alongside Pierre Balmain — worked for Parisian couturier Lucien Lelong during World War II and ensured that Nazi wives were the chicest anti-Semites of the Third Reich. Unlike Boss, who was an early co-signer to the Nazi party — Dior’s involvement was a move to preserve the tradition of Haute Couture, with Lelong being quoted as saying ”You can impose anything upon by force, but Paris couture cannot be uprooted, neither as a whole or in any part. Either it stays in Paris or it does not exist.”
Meanwhile, Dior’s sister, Catherine was a member of the French Resistance and was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp, the memory of which was invoked at the fall 2011 Dior show by CEO Sidney Toledano as he addressed the audience following Galliano’s dismissal. Catherine was released in May of 1945 and two years later, Dior revolutionized womenswear with his acclaimed “New Look,” liberating women by giving them back their “sparkle and joyfulness,” to paraphrase Toledano.
One woman who was perhaps a little too liberated was Francoise Dior, Dior’s whackadoo neo-Nazi niece who openly professed her love for all things Kampf in a 1963 video that went viral during Gallianogate. In said video, Franny extolled the virtues of “defending the race” and keeping the bloodline “pure’; words she would put into action by attacking British synagogues and sticker-bombing Swastikas at the British Embassy in France.