Heritage | DIORMAG

26 December
Heritage

TIMELESS TOILE DE JOUY  

For the end-of-year celebrations, Dior is highlighting a key motif in its history: toile de Jouy. We take a closer look at this emblematic eighteenth-century fabric, embraced by Christian Dior since the foundation of his couture house.

At the end of 1946, Christian Dior chose Victor Grandpierre to decorate 30 Avenue Montaigne, where the just-founded House’s heart had begun to beat. During a visit, the artist and friend of the couturier, Christian Bérard, had the idea of ​​using toile de Jouy to upholster the “Colifichets” boutique, the first in the history of Dior, and a visionary new concept that offered a series of accessories and gifts “in the tradition of 18th-century fancy goods stores”. The print selected was a reissue inspired by Jean-Baptiste Huet's L'Escarpolette, featuring a cream ground with sepia motifs, which reproduces the painting Les Hasards Heureux de l'Escarpolette by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The ornamental fabric, recognizable by its pastoral scenes and floral elements, covered the walls, the counters, the canopy and even the ladder of this virtual jewel box. One floor above, the “Muguet” salon was then entirely decorated with this textile in 1949.

In April of that same year, a Christian Dior suite – also decorated in toile de Jouy by Victor Grandpierre – was unveiled at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Ten years later, the signature motif was used for two light dresses from the English branch of the House, C.D. Models, as well as for pumps designed by Roger Vivier. Inspired by this rich heritage, several Creative Directors have reinterpreted toile de Jouy by infusing it with their own ideas of modernity. Gianfranco Ferré unveiled it with two architectural creations for his spring-summer 1991 haute couture collection, while John Galliano revisited it on two long dresses, presented in the spring-summer 1998 ready-to-wear show.

Tigers, serpents, monkeys and giraffes also populate the Dior windows and holiday decorations, along with pieces from the Dior Maison line including plates, tablecloths, cushions and candles, celebrating the art and elegance of offering prized by Christian Dior. In addition, two stuffed toys, a giraffe and an elephant are tricked out in toile de Jouy at Baby Dior.

Kim Jones, in turn, reinterpreted it in his first men's collection for the House, employing different savoir-faire and materials: as an all-over print, as jacquards or feather embroideries. This November, in Tokyo, for the Pre-Fall 2019 show, he tweaked it again by conceiving a distinctly Japanese version of the founding couturier’s beloved textile.

19 November
events

DIOR - CONQUERING THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD

Running until March 3, 2019, the exhibition Dior: From Paris to the World at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in Colorado, celebrates more than 70 years of haute couture creations by evoking the global outlook and visionary spirit of Christian Dior and his successors

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Photo André Gandner © Clémence Gandner

As a Parisian couturier, I needed to be aware of not only the needs of French women, but also those of elegant women around the world,” Christian Dior wrote in his memoirs. 

 

On September 1st, 1947, a few months after the triumph of the New Look – so named by Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar – the founding couturier, awaited in  Dallas to receive the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award, set off to meet the elegant women of the New World. “American women are famous for their beauty, and I wished to see them in their own country,” he explained in his memoirs. Already highly receptive to the idea of his revolutionary style, they would prove to be not only a source of inspiration for his work but would number among his most faithful clients. Beginning the following year, they would be able to discover their own version of the refined atmosphere of 30 Avenue Montaigne which was exported to 5th Avenue with the launch of the Christian Dior New York line. And in Hollywood actresses, the couturier also found perfect muses. After Marlene Dietrich, a close personal friend of the couturier’s and a star in Dior from the very beginning, the House’s faithful clients would include Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. This unceasing rapport with the United States continues today through actresses such as Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence.

From his first transatlantic voyage – during which he had explored New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – would be born emblematic designs with evocative names, such as the glowing red wool Arizona coat, a houndstooth one named Texas, and the Nuit de Chicago sheath dress. Ten years later, in 1957 – the same year in which he made the cover of Time magazine – still driven by an insatiable desire for discovery, he headed once again to the West Coast. In Los Angeles, he had already introduced his first swimwear line in 1956, in partnership with Cole of California. This odyssey sparked an innovative development of overseas branches (as in London and Caracas), then the signing of several licensing agreements with the best manufacturers, from Canada to Japan. As a result, the Dior name would expand beyond the original United States frontier to become established all over the world.

It is precisely this international ambition and unquenchable curiosity that is being highlighted, from November 19, by the exhibition Dior: From Paris to the World, through more than 180 haute couture outfits and 25 atelier toiles, photographs, unique videos and films, sketches and nearly 200 accessories and objects related to Dior fragrances and makeup, all curated by Florence Müller. This enchanting journey through time also serves to trace the creativity of Christian Dior’s successors, who, just like him, were inspired by the cultures of the world.

14 November
Heritage

VIPs at the Guggenheim International Gala 

At the Guggenheim International Gala made possible by the House, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jorja Smith, Karlie Kloss, Jamie King, Camille Rowe, Selah Marley and a host of other guests were dressed in Dior.

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14 November
Heritage

DIOR AND ART  

For the sixth consecutive year, faithful to its founder’s passion for the artistic world, Dior is making possible the Guggenheim International Gala in New York, and, in doing so, reinforcing the bonds that connect the House with art in all its forms.

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Salvador et Gala Dali, Christian Dior, Victor Grandpierre et Jacques Benita à Barcelone, 1956. © Droits réservés

“Officially I was supposed to be preparing my bachot for the Tannenberg course, but already, with my friends, I was falling under the influence of music, literature, painting, and all the manifestations of the new trend in the arts,” Christian Dior wrote in his memoirs. While the future Avenue Montaigne couturier envisaged himself attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to become an architect, his parents’ refusal pushed him to study political sciences instead. Fascinated by the young artists of his time whom he met “in the four corners of an inventive, cosmopolitan, intelligent Paris, erupting with genuine newness, he developed his tastes and formed close friendships with the musician Henri Sauguet, the painter Christian Bérard and the poet Max Jacob. Close to the Groupe des Six, Dior dreamed of being a composer. However, in 1928, he decided to open an art gallery, with Jacques Bonjean, and then Pierre Colle. Together they would show work by Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder and Georges Braque, alongside that of Leonor Fini, Juan Miró and Pablo Picasso. If only I could have been able to keep that stock of paintings which would now be of incalculable value, and which my family thought were worthless!” the gallerist-turned-couturier later regretted.

At the showing of the autumn-winter 1949 haute couture collection, which took place in the salons of Avenue Montaigne, some dresses designed by Christian Dior featured the names of his artist friends, such as Matisse and Braque. For ten years, his creativity was nourished by the work of his contemporaries who, from Marc Chagall to Bernard Buffet, would paint his portrait in turn. This permanent dialogue between art and fashion has continued long after the founding couturier’s death through the talents of his successors.

To wit, for the Madeleine dress from his autumn-winter 2005-2006 haute couture collection, John Galliano was inspired by the painting Madame Charles Max, by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. In July 2007, he celebrated the 60th anniversary of the House with a spectacular show on the theme of the Bal des Artistes, in the Orangerie at Versailles. The outfits seemed to have stepped out of paintings by the Impressionists, the Dutch and Spanish masters, as well as the painters of the Renaissance. This passion for art was shared by his successor, Raf Simons, who from his first haute couture show, for autumn-winter 2012-2013, referenced the abstract paintings of the artist Sterling Ruby and, the following season, looked to drawings made by Andy Warhol in the 1950s. More recently, for her spring-summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection, the Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, was inspired by the artist Niki de Saint Phalle and her friendship with Marc Bohan, himself Creative Director from 1961 to 1989. Today, the House remains closely linked to the world of art, as evidenced each year since 2013 by the Guggenheim International Gala in New York, made possible thanks to the involvement of Dior.

14 May
Heritage

The Eternal Marilyn

She was the embodiment of glamour, he was loved in Hollywood: Marilyn Monroe and Christian Dior formed an unforgettable association. The Festival de Cannes offers an opportunity to highlight it.

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Photographed by Milton H. Greene © 2018 Joshua Greene archiveimages.com

In 1953, in the Howard Hawks movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe shared billing with Jane Russell. Friends both on screen and in real life, the two women’s characters, having just arrived in Paris, find themselves in front of a Dior window display featuring the famous Bar suit, that emblem of the New Look. If the shop here is a pure fantasy, a movie set construction, it testifies to how the House’s aura stretched across the Atlantic to become the very evocation of the City of Light and its unparalleled sense of elegance.

The links between Dior and the blonde bombshell would be immortalized during a photoshoot. Almost like a farewell kiss, this famous series of images captures forever Marilyn Monroe’s legendary beauty, sublimated by a black dress from the House, with plunging neckline in the back. It was to prove her final photoshoot, granted in 1962 to Bert Stern for Vogue.
More than 50 years after her death, the star’s mystery still fascinates. In 2011, the Dior campaign for the perfume J'adore was set in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. As the muse Charlize Theron hurriedly makes her way to the runway, she passes Marilyn, all dressed in Dior, a symbol of eternal glamor.

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