PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Dallas

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70 M ost people associate couturier Christian Dior with his fashion aesthetic, a revived emblem of modern Parisian elegance. Fewer take note of his impact on interior decoration. In the book Dior and His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look (Vendome, $60), author Maureen Footer — an expert on French decorative arts and a leading design historian — examines the intertwined nature of Dior's design influence, from wearable art to livable spaces. Spatial beauty long influenced Dior: the Belle Époque-era Normandy home of his adolescence, Les Rhumbs, was an early place of aesthetic inspiration. But this book provides the first in-depth examination of the two Parisian interior designers who worked alongside Dior as he built his maison, Victor Grandpierre and Georges Geffroy. Grandpierre was a photojournalist who designed Dior's first couture house with the kind of restraint (dove-gray walls with contrasting white molding and Louis XVI chairs) that would become synonymous with the fashion house, as well as the typeface used in branding to the Dior logo, signage, and packaging. Geffroy, a former designer under couturier Jean Patou, worked separately but adjacent to Grandpierre, DIOR AND THE DECORATIVE ARTS BY CHRISTINA GEYER designing many rooms for Dior, including the reception chambers in the designer's Paris residence. The idea that Dior's impact on aesthetics could reach far past the wardrobe isn't novel. A look inside the interior lives of Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, or Valentino Garavani, reveals remarkable attention to residential and commercial design. But to think of Dior's New Look — which for 1947 was an avant-garde s i l h o u e t t e t h a t turned women into flowers, with cinched waists and robust Corelle skirts — as an equal revelation in interior design is revolutionary. It provides a historic look at the romantic visual reaction in post World War II Europe, a region that was grappling with the atrocities of war and, perhaps, yearning for escapism. In his foreword for the book, international editor at large for Vogue and all-around aesthete Hamish Bowles summarizes it thusly: "Just as Dior's ateliers found themselves reviving Victorian dressmaking techniques to bring his elaborately constructed clothes to life, the interior design artisans drew on techniques honed over generations to provide their perfect setting. Chez Dior, the well-heeled denizens of café society, the stars of screen, stage, and the cultural firmament who came in droves to admire the couturier's creations were enveloped in melting dove gray and perched on the sort of Louis Quinze revival sofas and Louis Seize oval-backed chaises on which the sitters of Boldini and Helleu had posed half a century earlier." What was old, when translated through the modern lens of Dior, Grandpierre, and Geffroy, was new again. It was Versailles for the 20th Century. Romance for a post-war world. Georges Geffroy at home The blue room in the Chateau de la Motte-Tille, designed by Victor Grandpierre. TOP RIGHT: PORTRAIT, ROBERT DOISNEAU/GAMMA-RAPHO BOTTOM LEFT: INTERIOR, DAVID BORDES/CENTRE DES MONUMENTS NATIONAUX

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