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#331 Christian Dior
December 18th, 2023 | E331

What I learned from reading Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior and Creators by Paul Johnson. 


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(4:00) The Taste of Luxury: Bernard Arnault and the Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton Story by Nadege Forestier and Nazanine Ravai. (Founders #296)

(5:00) Opportunity is a strange beast. It frequently appears after a loss.

(6:00) Dior was a nobody in his forties, with nothing in his design career to suggest genius.

(6:00) When you read biographies of people who've done great work, it's remarkable how much luck is involved. They discover what to work on as a result of a chance meeting, or by reading a book they happen to pick up. So you need to make yourself a big target for luck, and the way to do that is to be curious. Try lots of things, meet lots of people, read lots of books, ask lots of questions.

How To Do Great Work by Paul Graham. (Founders #314)

(7:00) Dior told him: “I am not interested in managing a clothing factory. What you need, and I would like to run, is a craftsman’s workshop, in which we would recruit the very best people in the trade, to reestablish in Paris a salon for the greatest luxury and the highest standards of workmanship. It will cost a great deal of money and entail much risk.”

(8:00) He spat in the face of postwar egalitarian democracy and said, in so many words, “I want to make the rich feel rich again.” His first collection turned out to be the most successful in fashion history.

(18:00) I envisioned my fashion house as a craftsman’s workshop rather than a clothing factory.

(19:00) A fortune teller tells Dior he must do found his fashion house in spite of his fears and doubts: She ordered me sternly to accept the Boussac offer at once. You must create the house of Christian Dior, whatever the conditions, she told me. Nothing anyone will offer you later will compare with the chance which is open to you now.

(22:00) Dior said Balenciaga was "the master of us all" — Balenciaga (Founders #315)

(26:00) Gossip and malicious rumors are worth more than the most expensive publicity campaign in the world.

(29:00) The most passionate adventures of my life have been with my clothes. I am obsessed with them.

(30:00) When asked what was the best asset a man could have, Albert Lasker replied, ‘Humility in the presence of a good idea.’ It is horribly difficult to recognize a good idea. I shudder to think how many I have rejected. Research can’t help you much, because it cannot predict the cumulative value of an idea. — Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy.


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