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Christian DIOR,

Couture Colors

Throughout his life, Christian Dior would retain happy memories of the blush-pink shade of his childhood home in Granville, stating that it “was the gentlest of colors, that of happiness and femininity.” He also said that “every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe.”

All the great couture houses have their own signature tones. For Christian Dior, pink is the color of the heart; and gray that of elegance and re nement. The latter, which was chosen in 1946 to adorn the boutique on Rue Montaigne, has the advantage of glorifying materials and revealing every other nuance. And those of the Maestro’s life were many and varied. Red, his favorite color, has embedded its amboyance into the very genes of the Maison. Its inspirational power was celebrated by John Galliano several decades later as the theme of a charismatic collection (Spring/ Summer 2006). Blue, the embodiment of tranquility tinged with a distinctive touch of purple, was also interpreted in countless different ways by the founding couturier, as was black, a must-have in all its expressions, and especially for the famous LBD. Meanwhile, the enchanting immaculate simplicity of white would assert itself on his sketchpad as the ultimate choice for evening wear.

Since Christian Dior’s death in 1957, successive designers have continued exploring the chromatic and artistic in uences of the man who gave the Maison its momentum and its aesthetic codes. Since July 2016, the Dior spirit has been taking ight on the wings of Maria Grazia Chiuri. For her Fall-Winter 2017/2018 collection, the new Artistic Director of the women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories

collections spun out the founder’s beloved cerulean guiding thread with its in nite gray, midnight and sky-blue versions. Last September, she explored the strong ties between the Maison and artists through her tribute to Niki de Saint-Phalle. This eminent exponent of contemporary art liked wearing clothes by Marc Bohan while ring with a gun at suspended bags of paint so as to make them explode. As a preliminary to the runway show, the question raised by the title of an essay by art historian Linda Nochlin, “Why have there been no great female artists?” unleashed a tidal wave of creativity. Against a leather, denim and dogtooth backdrop, the dinosaur and spider motifs so beloved by the sculptress appeared like bullet marks on the various items of apparel. The gardens of the Rodin Museum welcomed a set featuring a cavern glittering with clusters of shattered mirror fragments. The event was brimming with boldness, joy and depth, as models strode by displaying the work of a woman in touch with her times as well as with the soul of the Maison Dior.

Until January 7th 2018, the “Designer of Dreams” exhibition has been celebrating Dior’s 70th anniversary in the majestic setting of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. More than 300 haute couture gowns designed by Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri are on show there within a fascinating scenography created by Nathalie Crinière.

By Michèle Wouters

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