This summer, DiorMag brings you the story of the Dior roses. The first episode: discovering Les Rhumbs, the seaside villa where the young Christian lived at the beginning of the last century.

Christian Dior loved women. Flowers, too. He often adorned the former with the delicate finery of the latter. Among nature’s scented blooms, roses remained the couturier’s favorite, for in them he could find a thousand different notes to recall the many aspects of his beloved childhood home. That villa, called Les Rhumbs, perched on the Normandy coast, sheltered a multifaceted garden dreamt up by his mother, Madeleine. A great lover of nature, she passed on her passion to her son who grew up in the midst of these verdant compositions carefully tended by gardeners. In this peaceful idyll, the rose garden exists as a work of art that defies the elements. Clinging to the foot of the cliff, it’s protected from the cold wilds and the salty squalls by cleverly positioned hedges. It was beneath the arches of this fragrant palace that the young Christian strolled every summer, patiently learning the names of the roses that surrounded him from the Vilmorin-Andrieux seed catalogs he devoured with as much gusto as an adventure story. It wasn’t long before he knew how to recognize the different varieties that made up his first rose garden.

From the Abrahams that resembled old English roses, and are capable of withstanding very cold spells, to the delicately gilded double petals and heady perfume of the Pilgrim, from Pierre de Ronsard, a robust climber blessed with a luminous pink hue, to the long stems and subtle scent of the Perle d’Or, from the Mermaid’s rambling masses, to the highly-perfumed clusters of Penelope with their golden sunny centers, from the large blooms of Pink Cloud turned to face the sky, to the watercolor pink tints of New Dawn, nothing escaped the young boy. A couturier with the soul of a botanist, he would one day create his own bouquets of silks and mousselines in homage to the roses that were as graceful as the beautiful women who would hasten to his couture salons to see the Dior dresses blossom before their very eyes.

The next episode in our tale appears August 8.