Christian Dior and Granville, an Exhibition at the Source of the Legend

Hommage de John Galliano à Christian Dior et sa mère Madeleine pour Christian Dior Couture, Collection Haute Couture Automne-Hiver 2005 ©Guy Marineau

Hommage de John Galliano à Christian Dior et sa mère Madeleine pour Christian Dior Couture, Collection Haute Couture Automne-Hiver 2005 ©Guy Marineau

Ensemble de cocktail «Topaze» Haute Couture AH 1951, Collection Musée Christian Dior, Granville © Laziz Hamani

Ensemble de cocktail «Topaze» Haute Couture AH 1951, Collection Musée Christian Dior, Granville
© Laziz Hamani

 

On Feb 12, 1947, Christian Dior presented his first collection. After years of fabric rationing during the war, his bar jacket worn over a voluminous skirt was a revolution, and the collection was immediately dubbed the “New Look.”

“Christian Dior and Granville,” a new exhibition opening April 8 at the Musée Christian Dior, housed in the designer’s childhood home in Granville, Normandy, is offering a new perspective on the origins of the Dior style, highlighting how the family home and its beautiful garden played a key role as a continual source of inspiration for the couturier and the Maison.

Recalling his youth in his memoirs, the designer wrote he kept "... the most tender and the most amazed memory. What did I say? My life, my style, owe almost everything to its situation and its architecture."

“Christian Dior and Granville” is organized around a dual theme, historic and stylistic, with personal objects from Dior’s childhood juxtaposed again couture gowns created by him as well a succession of couturiers who have helmed the Maison since the designer died in 1957, and who have always kept faithful to the stylistic themes Dior embraced.

 

ÝRobe d’après-midi Haute Couture PE 1953, Collection Dior Heritage, Paris©Laziz Hamani

ÝRobe d’après-midi Haute Couture PE 1953, Collection Dior Heritage, Paris©Laziz Hamani

 

Curated by Florence Müller, some rooms evoke a member of his family (his father maurice, his mother Madeleine (photo above), his sisters and grandmother) suggested by a familiar object or a photo, while others reflects aspects of the designer’s personality, from his love of food to his taste for neo-18th-century furniture in the living room.

Recalling the Asian decor of the house’s entrance, Dior designed dresses inspired by the orient, while the elaborate and eclectic decor of the grand salon, mixing Louis XV furniture with modernism has also long been a source of inspiration for successive designers, in particular John Galliano.

The Second Empire decor of the house's petit salon, and a nostalgia for its grandeur, also inspired Dior’s collections, as evident in the tight corseted waists, ruffle embellishments and voluminous skirts that recall crinoline, and reflections on the flower garden can often be found embroidered or printed on dresses, forming one of the iconic tenets of the couture house.

“Christian Dior and Granville” is part of the celebration of the couture house’s seventieth anniversary, and will run April 8 through September 24. There will also be major retrospectives in Paris and Melbourne this summer.