Nature Into Art: La Galerie Christian Dior
Since the the opening of the spectacular Galerie Christian Dior in 2022, the museum has become one of the most visited cultural venues in the city. Located at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the very place where Christian Dior (1905-1958) founded his couture brand in 1947, the galley-museum celebrates the life and career of the legendary couturier. The installations trace the gifted designer’s career, offering visitors the opportunity to see how nature influenced his designs, which we explore in this latest edition of our Nature into Art series.
A savvy curation of Dior’s dresses, coats and accessories, the gallery offers a breathtaking review of his creative talents, spanning from the iconic “New Look” dress of 1947 until the present day. A glimpse into Dior’s creative process is provided through letters, photographs and illustrations from the Dior archive. While chronologically arranged to celebrate Dior’s biography, the museum also explores the development of the Dior brand. The collections incorporate works by his six successors-Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri-demonstrating how they were inspired by Dior’s legacy.
Nestled in the center of the museum is a special room dedicated to Dior’s childhood home in Granville, Normandy, not far from Mont-St-Michel. Christian Dior’s parents bought the grand house with its winter garden in 1905, the year of his birth. Dior was particularly fond of the seaside home as he reminisced in his autobiography: “My childhood home was rendered in a very soft pink, combined with gray gravel, and these two shades have remained my favorite colors in couture.” A number of creations in the exhibition allow us to see how the Granville gardens and its flowers, especially roses, inspired his couture designs.
The Miss Dior evening gown from the spring-summer collection 1949 in organza, taffeta and tuille, embroidered in flowers clearly set out Dior’s life-long dedication to carefully rendered blooms. Rosebuds and lily of the valley often appear in both prints and embroidery throughout his career. Thanks to the savoir-faire of his embroiderers, these dresses are an homage to the symbiotic relationship between flowers and haute couture.
In her debut collection for Dior in 2017, Maria Grazia Churi expanded upon this tradition with her Essence d’Herbier dress. The strapless cocktail dress is constructed from sheer organza, which has been embroidered with scattered floral motifs in silk thread, further highlighted with colored spangles. Taking its starting point from an embroidered sample produced by French embroidery house Rébé for Christian Dior in the 1950s (now in the collection of the Musée Christian Dior Granville), Chiuri used the exquisite floral motifs to again mark Dior’s dedication to floral art.
Dior’s love of gardens found special expression in his line of perfumes. Dior dedicated his first perfume, Miss Dior, to his younger sister Catherine. Discovered as a member of the Resistance Movement in July 1944, Catherine was deported to several concentration camps until her release in April 1945. To recuperate from the tragedies of war, she became dedicated to growing flowers. She began her career as a flower trader at the Les Halles market, where she specialized in importing flowers from the South of France, and then when she began to grow roses at the Dior farm at Callian, Provence for the production of fragrance. The Miss Dior perfume, created by perfumers Paul Vacher and Jean Carles in 1947, was conceived with strong floral notes that include mandarine, gardenia and bergamot as the top notes; jasmine, narcissus, neroli and rose in the heart notes; and patchouli, oak and sandalwood as the base notes.
In 2019 Maria Grazia Churia dedicate her spring collection to Catherine, celebrating the resistance member, gardener and entrepreneur, explicitly noting how brother and sister indelibly transformed gardens into art.
We offer custom tours of the Christian Dior Galerie in Paris, which provide an in-depth look at Dior’s career, legacy and connection to nature. Contact us here to create the perfect itinerary for you.
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