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Dior’s Longest-Running Designer Marc Bohan Dies At 97

French modele Inès de La Fressange (L) congratulates French designer for Christian Dior Marc Bohan (R) for the golden thimble he was awarded for his Fall-Winter high fashion collection, on July 28, 1988 at Galliera Museum, in Paris. (Photo by Pierre GUILLAUD / AFP)

Marc Bohan, Dior’s artistic director for an unparalleled three decades, died on Friday, the premium label announced.

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Bohan, who died on Wednesday at the age of 97, was a calmer member of the fashion world, in stark contrast to successors such as John Galliano.

But he was a master of the profession who managed to maintain the label’s soul alive beyond its heyday in the mid-twentieth century.

Born in Paris on August 22, 1926, Bohan was inspired by his mother, a milliner, to pursue his interests in drawing and fashion at a young age.

He joined Christian Dior in 1957, responsible for creating collections in London.

His first, “Slim Look”, for spring-summer 1961, celebrated the uninhibited women of the era, with shorter skirts and more suits.

In 1961, he took over as artistic director when Yves Saint Laurent was called up for military service.

Bohan was close to icons of the period like writer Francoise Sagan, artist Niki de Saint Phalle and Empress Farah of Iran, whom he notably dressed for the coronation of the shah in 1967.

Farah’s style also seduced the American First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, who asked her official designer Oleg Cassini to copy Bohan’s Dior look.

He also opened up the label to new audiences with the launch of ready-to-wear lines for women (“Miss Dior”), children (“Baby Dior”) and men (“Dior Monsieur”).

When he quit Dior in 1989, Bohan became artistic director of London house Norman Hartnell, until 1992.

Passionate about opera and theatre, he also created stage costumes, collaborating in particular with Luchino Visconti.

He twice won the “De d’Or” (“Golden Thimble”), the supreme award for a designer, in 1983 and 1988.

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