Dior’s longest-serving creative director Marc Bohan, whose slim silhouette designs dressed the likes of Hollywood royalty including Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, has died at 97, the luxury fashion house confirmed Friday.
The son of a milliner, Bohan was asked to lead the French label after his predecessor Yves Saint Laurent was drafted into the French military in 1960. He would go on to oversee the brand as artistic director for nearly three decades, from 1961 to 1989, delivering elegant and tasteful tailored looks for the modern woman.
In his first couture collection for the house in 1961, he debuted the “slim” look, a slender take on Dior’s classic silhouette with feminine shoulders and sensibly sophisticated skirts.
Dior announced Bohan’s death Friday, calling him an “immense visionary and passionate creator” who left his mark on the fashion house.
“Marc Bohan was a unique creator dear to the heart of our House, infusing Dior elegance with his free spirit,” Delphine Arnault, Dior CEO, said in a statement. “A man of immense talent who profoundly marked both our history and that of fashion.”
At Dior, the couturier would become close friends with Princess Grace of Monaco; hence, her closet paid homage to his work as the pair shared the same vision of elegance and style. Even outside of his friendship circle, Hollywood played a part in Bohan’s work: He crafted a collection in 1966 where he incorporated fur trim and long coats after pulling inspiration from “Doctor Zhivago.”
Although Bohan preferred to stay out of the limelight — he was often referred to as private and discreet — his designs kept him in the spotlight. In 1967, Bohan was asked to design the lavish coronation dress for Iran’s then-empress, Farah Diba Pahlavi.
During his time at Dior, Bohan took the brand into new avenues, from launching Dior’s baby boutique to developing a line for young women, Miss Dior, and for men, Dior Monsieur. He was also heralded for staging Dior’s first shows in India.
Gianfranco Ferré replaced Bohan at the fashion house in 1989. Leaving behind Dior, Bohan moved to London where he joined the prestigious house of Norman Hartnell, a couturier for Britain’s royal family. He is survived by his daughter.