Marc Roger Maurice Louis Bohan (22 August 1926 – 6 September 2023) was a French fashion designer celebrated for his three-decade stint at the iconic fashion house Dior. Bohan was born in Paris and raised in Sceaux, a suburban commune near Paris. Influenced early on by his mother, a milliner, he was steered towards a career in fashion.
He attended Lycée Lakanal for his schooling and, upon graduating in 1945, Bohan secured a job at Robert Piguet, where he stayed for four years. His career path then led him to work as an assistant to Edward Molyneux in 1949. In 1952, he designed for Madeleine de Rauch before briefly opening his own salon in Paris in 1953. Following that, he moved on to Jean Patou in 1954, where he worked until 1958. Later in his life, in 1991, he served as a guest-professor for fashion design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria.
Designer at Christian Dior
Bohan initially joined Christian Dior, London as a designer from 1958 to 1960. However, when Dior’s creative director, Yves Saint Laurent, was conscripted for military service, Bohan took over his role in September 1960. Known for his simple yet elegant designs, Bohan often drew inspiration from the 1920s, steering clear of contemporary extremes. His 1966 collection was notably inspired by the Russian style evident in the film Doctor Zhivago.
His work has been included in museum collections globally, and in 2009, the Musee Christian Dior at Granville held a major retrospective celebrating Bohan’s contributions to fashion.
Bohan’s clientele included celebrities and royals, such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Lynn Wyatt, and Betsy Bloomingdale. He gained particular support from Princess Grace, who inaugurated the Baby Dior boutique in 1967. Film star Sophia Loren was also among his many admirers. Jacqueline Kennedy had Bohan’s designs adapted by Oleg Cassini and Chez Ninon.
In 1976, he was selected to design the wedding dress of Silvia Sommerlath for her marriage to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Two years later, he designed the wedding gown for Princess Caroline of Monaco for her marriage to Philippe Junot.
Personal Life and Death
Marc Bohan’s first wife was Dominique Gaborit, whom he married in 1950; she passed away in 1962. He later married Huguette Rinjonneau, and they had one daughter named Marie-Anne. Bohan resided in an 18th-century restored country house in Burgundy until his death on 6 September 2023 at the age of 97.
Over the years, Bohan received several accolades, including:
- Sports Illustrated Designer of the Year award in 1963
- Schiffli Lace and Embroidery Institute award in 1963
- Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 1979
- Ordre de Saint Charles, Monaco
Marc Bohan leaves behind a legacy that has left an indelible mark on the world of high fashion.