Dior Looks to its Couture Archives for Biennale’s Haute Joaillerie
The ‘Bar’ suit was one of the highlights of Christian Dior’s first couture collection in February 1947. The suit, named because it was intended to be worn for a late-afternoon cocktail in the bar of a grand hotel, consisted of a fully pleated skirt in wool crepe and a structured white silk jacket tightly fitted at the waist and with padded hips that create a very womanly figure. It became an instant hit and remains to his day one of the fashion house’s iconic shapes and is constantly reinterpreted as now with colorful bejeweled jewelry pieces that are part of the Archi Dior collection to be presented at the Biennale des Antiquaires in September.
Bar en Corolle Emeraude bracelet comprises a mix of diamonds (16.04 carats), pink and purple sapphires, emeralds (9.13 carats including an emerald-cut central stone of 3.92 carats), demantoid and tsavorite garnets, and orangy-pink spinels. In total more than 4,500 stones compose this unique piece in homage to the couturier and brand founder.
Victoire de Castellane, who designed the collection, has mined the archives of the Parisian couture house and found inspiration in 11 dresses to create 44 pieces for the Biennale. “I wanted to create each piece just like the dresses Christian Dior designed, with an architect’s eye, as if the jewels were sculpted, flounced, pleated, belted, or draped fabrics,” she explains.
Christian Dior had dreamed of being an architect before turning to fashion and thus strictly structured his designs, paying as much attention to the foundation as to the final details, an important principle for haute joaillerie where every stone must be perfectly placed.
Each piece of the Archi Dior collection borrows its name from and is inspired by an iconic line or gown and in effect translates the cuts and pleats of Dior’s elegant designs, no small feat when one compares the suppleness of fabric to the rigidity of metals and stones. “Some pieces imitate the movement of the hem of a dress which lifts as a woman walks,” explains the designer, adding, “these are pieces of jewelry which take to the catwalk as if they were ball gowns.”
For the Biennale, the pieces will be showcased alongside versions of their inspiration, such as Dior's 1947 Songe dress, a two tier skirt with bustier, and his 1949 Junon dress, characterized by a full skirt of sequin ombréed blue petals.