Maria Grazia Chiuri named as first female creative director at Christian Dior

Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri has been named the new creative director, of Dior making her the first woman to lead the iconic French fashion house. The 52-year-old left the Italian label Valentino - and longtime creative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli - on Thursday, paving the way for her appointment. She will present her first show in Paris on September 30, the company said, following in the steps of legendary founder Christian Dior and such designers as Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferre and John Galliano.

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s talent is enormous and internationally acclaimed. She will bring her elegant and modern vision of the Dior woman

Dior owner Bernard Arnault

Dior has been without a leader since the shock departure of the Belgian Raf Simons last October, which sparked soul-searching in the industry about the pressure creators were now under. Valentino will now be in the sole charge of Piccioli. Together, Chiuri and Piccioli were credited with giving Valentino back its fizz, making it one of the most profitable designer brands in Europe. They have quadrupled its turnover in seven years, turning Valentino into a billion-euro brand, with business up a staggering 48% in 2015, and double-digit growth also predicted this year.

I was so shy and I found it hard to even talk. The night before I was at home trying to learn English from books

Maria Grazia Chiuri