Today marks the birthday of two legendary fashion designers who still hold great influence on the industry today: Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga, who were both captured by LIFE magazine (shown above) at the height of their careers.
SPECIAL: All-TIME 100 Fashion Icons
Dior was perhaps best known for his “New Look,” debuted in 1947, which was defined by tight, nipped-in waistlines and broader busts and hips. Belgian designer Raf Simons has served as creative director since 2012 (John Galliano was fired from the fashion house in March 2011 following anti-Semitic remarks), and the brand has been worn by everyone from Hollywood royalty (among them Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence) to former French First Lady Carla Bruni.
Cristobal Balenciaga, meanwhile, made his mark by removing the waistline, with signature pieces such as the tunic dress and balloon skirts. The company recently appointed New York fashion designer Alexander Wang as creative director in December, the first American to helm the brand.