“A leg without hosiery is like a face without make-up.”
Christian Dior stockings were a symbol of luxury. Women were craving beautiful hosiery they were deprived of during the war and having a pair of French stockings, especially from the Maison Dior, was quite a treat.
The stockings were advertised as “the finest stockings in the world” and carefully designed to enhance the legs. Every collection consisted of 20 French-named shades to suit time of the day (“muted tones for day and subtle flower tones for evening”)and compliment the couture pieces.
Dior spent a lot of time researching the process and learning about the latest innovations and fabrics. He changed the ankle reinforcement design to prevent stockings from twisting and create an elegant line that made the leg appear longer and ankle – narrower. The stockings were available in five sizes, two length and three different weights for country, city and evening wear.
In 1953 the house introduced a new collection of most resistant nylons in four shades. The Dior-Sport stockings were for the active women and most appropriate for walking, driving, weekends in a country and golfing.
The revolutionary invention of a bare leg look also took place in 1953 when Dior summer stockings became seamless, with no visible reinforcements in the heel and toe.
Finally, in 1955, Maison Dior launched a one-size stockings that would also be wrinkle-free, something so novel that it was quickly named “stocking heresy”.
By the late 1950s Dior stockings were sold in 3650 boutiques, each generating over $2 million in sales. Using local producers around the world meant that the stocking design could be easily adjusted according to different body types and skin tones of women in different countries while also profiting from the new technical knowledge of each individual manufacturer. At the same time Dior stockings were always linked to the historic French craft roots which was always reflected in advertisements, whether it was a Rene Gruau’s drawing based on a Degas dancer or a familiar location such as Arc de Triumphe.
Just like perfumes, French stockings became a luxury item most women could afford and have a little bit of Dior couture in their lives.
Based on: Dior by Alexander Palmer / Photo source: Christian Dior stockings ad by Rene Gruau 1952