Every year in Granville, Normandy, birthplace town of Christian Dior, is organized an exclusive exhibition in his childhood villa « Les rhumbs ». A charming place on a cliff by the sea..
New Look Revolution emphasises on this total change in the fashion world .
It is always a pleasure to stroll along the garden near the house. Despite the strong wind and the changing sky, the colors of flowers jump you in the eyes. Some Americans tourist escaped from the d-day beaches stray in the rose garden. Yet, ladies want to meet the the master’s genius! All Americans know Dior! And they have good reason because this show transports you to another universe. Excitement mounts as I discover confined spaces, each showcase is full of treasures of architecture and beauty.
The visit is on three level. First floor begins with a presentation of the fashion in the 1940s with various houses such as Maison Anouschka or Lucien Lelong. I precisely love this period, the structured cut, raw materials, no bling due to war restrictions, incredibly elegant shoes. It reminds me also my maternal grandmother who was so elegant, made her own clothes, sang like a nightingale, embroidered wheat spikes on her lapel pockets, waved her hair, has a passion for accessories (I still have her handbags of the war years). She loved watching the films of the golden age of French cinema, end of the 1930s and it is through these films that I discovered fashion. Satin, hair slicked with brilliantine, smiles in rows of pearls, fur collars and the magic at it all.
This structured and austere side will be drastically changed by the revolution of the Bar suit – Bar is for The Ritz’s Bar, a perfect suit to get an afternoon drink. I confess it, it’s exciting to stand at a few centimetres of this legend, whenever we all more or less have a reproduction, Barbie size, in our collection. The layout of the small folds at the waist is technically maddening. The bulging formed artificially on the hip, this sand color and this tiny waist! I’m going to faint!
A showcase presents the influence of the Bar cut and their re-interpretation by the successive stylists of the Dior House (Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons.
The first floor is devoted to the cut and technique..A large window provides almost the vision of an Haute Couture workshop. The linen stiff, Stockman mannequins of the rich customers, the cutting table.
There is also a pleasure to look at old outfits, a journey through time, from 1850 to a remarkable Worth tobacco dress (1885) through the early 20th century and its so expensive ivory lace, the style Dior’s mother wore to the advent of loose that freed women. Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior models still borrow from curves and tiny waists. In a few years, he will free women from this restraint.
Then comes the explanation of the Bar cut including the very seen red coat of the collection Fall-Winter 2014 Haute Couture show. A smart screen invites you to rotate the coat and generate the assembly of the parts. On the wall are presented the original pattern pieces.
The Corolle line applies to day dresses of the coats. It is amazing to see that nothing frowns (which is not the case on recent models). I am almost in trance in front of « Diablesse », a « red satan » woolen red dress! Is not fashion very evil ?
An alcove show the processing of the fabric as the basis for creation, like a sculptor modeling his clay. The tortuous pleating of chiffon, this amazing pale yellow dress (that we already know on Barbie with the Gala Gown) to Raf Simons origami carvings.
The top floor is devoted to calligraphied body. The line is neat as an ink stroke on a Japanese print. The cut is almost surgical.
Collages and watercolors of Mats Gustafson strengthen the idea of a clean and precise cut. (Postcards are sold in the giftshop).
Then we head toward extravagance, the Dior line reviewed by John Galliano, the contrast is striking. Color burst, fabrics trickle, opulence overflows and chic is here. It is overwhelming.
We end the visit by the Petit Théâtre Dior. Your collector body vibrates to the point of wanting to break the glass and run away with all the miniatures. The size is ideal for a Tonner American Model doll. All outfits are presented in the middle of original perfumes and their box-like Princess beds.
Monsieur Dior personally makes me a wink as we, doll collectors. The last window exposes a doll dressed by him for some friend’s little girl.
There is a giftshop where you can purchase this book retracing the show but also fashion book, postcards, pencils and notebooks, not to mention the limited editions of perfumes, scarves and jewelry.
I will end this report on a small impressionist note. The alleys are so beautiful they could inspiresome Haute Couture fabrics.
You can visit Granville town near the sea with 30s bath style. Lots of antique shops and shops. Don’t miss Yver Patisserie, the best address in town. A well appreciated yummie pause after all these emotions.
I hope that this little story distracted you a bit. Do not hesitate to « like » it on Facebook. Be indulgent with my pics. They are taken with my smartphone and it was a « tour de force », because normally the photos are forbidden ! But so much genius is an invitation to the rebellion.