Christian Dior’s ‘Itinéraire d’un Couturier’ in Granville

“We were emerging from a period of war, of uniforms […]. I drew flower-women: soft shoulders, blossomed full busts, slender waists like vines and wide skirts blooming like corollas. (…) I emphasised the waist, the volume of the hips, I accentuated the chest. To enhance my designs, I lined almost all the fabrics with percale or taffeta, going back to a long-abandoned tradition.” Christian Dior famously said about his New Look which emerged in the 1950s and took the world of fashion by surprise. 

He partly got his immense talent, and inspiration from the poetry of his charming family home in Granville, France. The 19th century mansion overlooks the English Channel and is located in the close vicinity of the picturesque Mont Saint Michel. Les Rhumbs villa was bought by Christian Dior’s parents in 1906, a few months after the birth of their son. It was recently converted into a sumptuous museum and public garden thanks to LVMH’s support.

Stretching across two floors, the typical Norman house currently features an exhibition running until January 2021. Titled Christian Dior, Itinéraire d’un Couturier, the exhibition traces the beginnings of Christian Dior, surprisingly as an art gallerist, his birth as a fashion designer through to his international success as a business man thanks to the international launch of the brand, and his fragrances. In his youth, Christian Dior contemplated a career as an architect too. He applied his burgeoning talent to the design of the property’s fishpond, the pergola and the modernist-style garden furniture. In 1911, the Dior family moved to Paris, from then on only returning to Granville for the three summer months. Paintings by the likes of Henry Jean Pontoy decorate the ground floor, archival materials including family photos, haute couture garments by Dior himself ( and the likes of the house’s artistic directors Raf Simons and John Galliano among others), jewellery, and advertising posters are all on display across the spectacular house. They fully help visitors grasp Dior’s intelligence and genius.

During the 1980s, the idea of making Les Rhumbs into a site dedicated to the memory of Christian Dior emerged, under the leadership of curator Jean-Luc Dufresne (1949 – 2010), a distant cousin of the fashion designer.

Highlights of the exhibition include the star, Dior’s ultimate lucky charm. As a superstitious, Dior came across this metal star at nightfall on 18 April 1946, on Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. It probably had fallen off a carriage wheel. This sign convinced him to accept Marcel Boussac’s backing to open a fashion house in his own name. He would keep it hanging on a ribbon in his design studio all his life. He had it reproduced in pendant size, in gold, for all his employees who had been with the company over ten years. Jacques Rouët, former President of the House of Dior, donated it to the Christian Dior Museum before he died, in 1996.

Christian Dior, Itinéraire d’un Couturier presented in the stunning family home  and English gardens make for a fantastic visit of Normandy.

Stretching across two floors, the typical Norman house currently features an exhibition running until January 2021. Titled Christian Dior, Itinéraire d’un Couturier, the exhibition traces the beginnings of Christian Dior, surprisingly as an art gallerist, his birth as a fashion designer through to his international success as a business man thanks to the international launch of the brand, and his fragrances. In his youth, Christian Dior contemplated a career as an architect too. He applied his burgeoning talent to the design of the property’s fishpond, the pergola and the modernist-style garden furniture. In 1911, the Dior family moved to Paris, from then on only returning to Granville for the three summer months. Paintings by the likes of Henry Jean Pontoy decorate the ground floor, archival materials including family photos, haute couture garments by Dior himself ( and the likes of the house’s artistic directors Raf Simons and John Galliano among others), jewellery, and advertising posters are all on display across the spectacular house. They fully help visitors grasp Dior’s intelligence and genius.

During the 1980s, the idea of making Les Rhumbs into a site dedicated to the memory of Christian Dior emerged, under the leadership of curator Jean-Luc Dufresne (1949 – 2010), a distant cousin of the fashion designer.

Highlights of the exhibition include the star, Dior’s ultimate lucky charm. As a superstitious, Dior came across this metal star at nightfall on 18 April 1946, on Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. It probably had fallen off a carriage wheel. This sign convinced him to accept Marcel Boussac’s backing to open a fashion house in his own name. He would keep it hanging on a ribbon in his design studio all his life. He had it reproduced in pendant size, in gold, for all his employees who had been with the company over ten years. Jacques Rouët, former President of the House of Dior, donated it to the Christian Dior Museum before he died, in 1996.

Christian Dior, Itinéraire d’un Couturier presented in the stunning family home  and English gardens make for a fantastic visit of Normandy.

Images:
DIABLESSE HCAH 1947 © Benoit Croisy, coll. ville de Granville.
ETOILE CHRISTIAN DIOR © Benoit Croisy, coll. ville de Granville.
SINGE PAP vers 1980 © Benoit Croisy, coll. ville de Granville.
Jardin Dior et musée Christian Dior © Benoit Croisy, coll. ville de Granville.