Dior has taken up residence at the Château de Versailles. At the moment, one of its façades is the location of an immense canvas by the artist Pierre Delavie. We sat down with the artist.
"By placing a Dior look between two arcades of the Bosquet des Colonnades, a natural harmony is revealed. Almost as if our collective unconscious expected to hear the rustling of dresses along the paths," Pierre Delavie explains. It's a dreamlike trompe-l’œil of imposing dimensions, a gigantic installation in which couture converses with architecture, in which Dior once again meets Versailles. The work of Pierre Delavie - the artist renowned for his monumental works and who recently covered the façade of the Grand Palais in Paris - the Dior canvas shrouding Versailles is a decor in stone and greenery in which can be found the House's most important creations, immortalized by the greatest names in photography. "I'm twisting the reality that little bit in order to see it in a surprising and, if possible, offbeat way. I'm trying to open windows on horizons that we can reappropriate," says the artist.
In effect, it's a real window from the Royal Courtyard onto the gardens, and particularly onto the Bosquet de la Colonnade, which is necessary to observe from several angles: "From very far away, where the monumental aspect of the edifice sweeps the field of vision, to the middle of the rows of great trees; along the main courtyard where the perception of two sides is maintained. And from the Royal Courtyard which allows one to better observe the details and the false railings up close. It's this succession of views that brings about the element of surprise," describes Pierre Delavie.
With this image adorning Versailles, Dior is paying homage to the bonds that unite the House to the palace of the Sun King, the bonds that have held fast since its foundation. After the grim war years, when he was seeking to give France back its splendor, Christian Dior naturally found in Versailles - its architecture and its spectacular 18th-century balls, its luxury of detail and the excellence of the savoir-faire that went into its construction - a major reference and a source of inspiration for his work. His emblematic designs had names such as Trianon and Versailles or were photographed by Willy Maywald in the magnificent main courtyard of the château. It's an influence that's still to be found in the House spirit and in the work of Raf Simons, Creative Director of the women's collections, who, in his most recent haute couture collection, showed a modern vision of the pannier dresses that would have graced the halls of Versailles in its heyday. In a poetic game of mirrors and melding influences, today it's Dior that's lending its luster to the Château de Versailles, a place of refinement that has never ceased inspiring its creations.