Living in a house which does not suit you is like wearing someone else’s clothes,” wrote Christian Dior in his memoirs. The unbreakable bond uniting the couturier with the art of living is told for the first time in Dior and His Decorators. With an enlightening foreword by Hamish Bowles, editor-at- large for US Vogue, this richly documented exploration is the work of Maureen Footer, a historian specializing in the French decorative arts.
It is, above all, an unprecedented invitation to open the doors to exceptional places and secret settings: from the couturier’s childhood villa, perched on a cliff at Granville, where the drawings of Utamaro and Hokusai composed his very own «Sistine Chapel» of inspiration, as he said in his evocative memories, to the family’s Paris apartment.
The extensively illustrated book unearths the House’s designs and archives, and the intimate worlds that forged Christian Dior’s tastes and more particularly his fascination for the 18th century, sublimely transcribed by his New Look silhouette.
This passion for elegance was something he shared with his decorator friends, Victor Grandpierre and Georges Geffroy, with whom he formed a unique creative trio. A key subject of this book, their collaboration helped to define Dior’s identifying codes, homages to neoclassical style. Victor Grandpierre was responsible for the «decorated but not decorative» atmosphere of 30 Avenue Montaigne, which has become famous for its Helleu salon, use of white and pearl gray, and its Louis XVI-inspired medallion chairs. He also designed other boutiques around the world, as well as the displays and packaging of iconic perfumes such as Miss Dior and Eau Sauvage.
In addition to producing a captivating collective portrait of three erudite aesthetes and friends, Dior and His Decorators reflects the creativity of an era, a decade influenced and shaped by the innovative vision of Christian Dior and two of his most loyal collaborators. A long-time friend, from the House’s very beginnings Victor Grandpierre poured his energies into a specific art de vivre, symbolizing luxury and refinement. And, for the couturier, George Geffroy’s dreams of grandeur proved a source of endless inspiration.
* Dior and His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy and the New Look, Vendome Press, 272 pages. Published in France on September 5, 2018 and in the UK and US on September 25, 2018.