Celebrity magazines go out of their way to impress upon us, the reader, that celebrities are people too. There are pictures showing them buying coffee, taking out the garbage and licking ice cream cones—pretty boring stuff. But this made me think about the lives of designers. The ones we know so well as their lives have been documented in endless biographies. I did a little digging and found some interesting facts about a few of our iconic designers—something a little more interesting than a picture of them taking a drag from a cigarette.
Christian Dior was an heir to a fertilizer fortune. Were it not for the stock market crash of 1929, he would had never become a great designer. It was not until his family lost everything that he got his first paid job as an illustrator at the age of 30. Prior to this he had an art gallery which was funded by his mother who disapproved of his bohemian lifestyle. He did not have his own label until he was 41 when he became an overnight success, but unfortunately died at 52.
Other little tidbit: he had an on-going rivalry with Chanel.
Coco Chanel had more lovers than Liz Taylor some of which were Nazi officers. Accusations of Coco’s involvement with the Third Reich went beyond a lace negligee and satin sheets. It is alleged she spied for her Nazi lovers. After the war the English Royal Family shipped her off to Switzerland where she avoided trail.
Other little tidbit: when she returned to Paris she lived out her life at the Ritz Hotel,and she despised Christian Dior.
Yves Saint Laurent served in the military for 20 days until he suffered a nervous breakdown. This would be one of many in his life. He began designing for Dior at the age of 17 and at 21 was named head designer when Dior passed away. He was given the boot four years later in 1962. A few days before his death, he married his long time partner, Pierre Berge, in a civil ceremony.
Other little tidbit: he was the first designer to use minorities as models on the runway, and Karl Lagerfeld rubbed him the wrong way.