The New Look: Was Christian Dior Gay? Who was His Boyfriend Jacques?

Apple TV+’s ‘The New Look’ follows the turbulent lives and careers of fashion icons Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, among others, during the Nazi occupation of Paris. It focuses on the role played by the fashion industry and people like Dior and Chanel, who had a lot of personal stuff to handle at the time. For Dior, the biggest concern was the safety of his sister, Catherine, who was a part of the Resistance. Another thing that could have landed him in trouble was his sexual proclivity. How close does ‘The New Look’ come to depicting that part of his life? SPOILERS AHEAD

Christian Dior Had At Least Two Jacques in His Life

In ‘The New Look,’ Christian Dior is presented as a closeted gay man who is in a relationship with a man named Jacques, who runs a bar in Paris. It is a common hangout point for Dior and his friends, due to which Jacques is also always around and, hence a part of the circle.

While it is now well-known that Dior was gay, back then, he couldn’t risk this secret coming out. If caught, Dior and his partner would have been persecuted for their sexual orientation, especially under the Nazi rule, which is why he was careful not to have these things become public. In fact, Dior wasn’t publicly seen with any of his boyfriends until his last one, Jacques Benita. Considering the timeline, Jacques in ‘The New Look’ is most probably Jacques Homberg, a decade younger than Dior, but with whom Dior remained friends even after their romantic connection had run its course.

While Dior had quite a few relationships in his lifetime, the only affair that Dior finally felt confident enough to acknowledge in public was the one he had with Jacques Benita. Benita was born in Morrocco in 1930 and had a thirty-year age gap with Dior. In his early twenties, he was starting out in his career as a singer and was completely out of touch with the world that Dior was worshipped in. This was one of the reasons why people close to Dior disapproved of Benita, but this didn’t matter to Dior, who, according to his sister, was the happiest he’d ever been with Benita.

Benita and Dior were introduced to each other in 1956 through André Ostier, a photographer hired to take portraits of Dior in his new mill. Ostier took Benita with him, and soon, Benita and Dior were seen hanging out with each other a lot more. This was the first time that Dior was seen holding his romantic partner’s hand in public. Reportedly, this was also his best relationship because all his previous ones had never panned out the way he’d expected them to, not on an emotional level at least.

In the late summer of 1957, Dior went on a trip to Montecatini, Italy, with Benita. What was supposed to be a relaxing time for him turned into a tragedy when he suffered a heartache that he couldn’t recover from. 52-year-old Dior died on October 23, 1957, with Benita by his side.

After Dior’s death, Benita tried to start over and took the pseudonym of Tony Sandro to try his hand at acting. He went to America for a while and acted in some soap operas. He also fulfilled his dream of being a singer and released records under a different name. However, none of his ventures took off enough to make him famous under his new name. He lived the rest of his life in comparative obscurity. Nothing is known about his personal life after his relationship with Dior. Benita died at the age of 91 in 2005.

Read More: Hervé Papillault de Charbonneries: What Happened to Catherine Dior’s Boyfriend?