Although the House of Dior celebrates 1947 as its year of establishment, it actually started on December 16, 1946. It was a part of an already successful textile business run by Marcel Boussac. The house, led by Christian Dior himself, proved to be immensely successful. The success was immediate, with the very first show on February 12, 1947 shocking the world with its luxuriousness and femininity.
In 1950, the house established a number of licenses to a variety of luxury goods, starting with neckties and soon expanding to other accessories, including handbags. Like everything else associated with the Christian Dior name, the handbags were of the highest quality. However, it was not until the arrival of the Lady Dior bag that the Dior House really had a signature handbag style.
The story of the Lady Collection started in September 1995 during the Dior and Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) sponsored exhibit “Cezanne”. The Princess of Wales, Lady Diana, was the guest of honor at the exhibit where she was given the very first Lady Dior handbag by the then first lady Madame Bernadette Chirac.
The bag was created in 1994 and given the code name Favorite (or Chouchou in French) but was later named Lady Dior as a tribute to Lady Diana. The princess fell in love with this bag as soon as she was given it. At the time, Lady Diana was one of the most photographed women in the world. She was first photographed carrying the bag during a visit to a children’s home in Birmingham, UK and later on a trip to Argentina. The Lady Dior bag became an instant success with 200,000 bags sold over two years.
The fact that it became an instant success should not come as a surprise, as this bag is truly unique in its beauty and elegance. The Lady Dior handbag is deceptively simple. The leather features the quilted cannage motif inspired by cane chairs in the style of Napoleon III. This motif harkens back to the first Dior show back in 1947 when Christian Dior used Napoleon III style chairs. The handles are elegant and of carefully crafted crocodile attached with gold rings and adorned with four gold letter charms spelling out the name of the house, D I O R. Its shape is square or rectangular, depending on the size.
Since becoming the Dior signature bag in the mid-1990s, the Lady Dior handbag has come in a number of guises, although the basic elegance and beauty have not changed. It has appeared in a number of mini short films known as The Lady Dior Saga starring Marion Cotillard, the face of Lady Dior since 2008.