PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas April 2023

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F r rench couturier Christian Dior is quoted in his memoir, Dior on Dior, as saying "Living in a house that doesn't look like you is a bit like wearing someone else's clothes." To the brilliant Monsieur Dior, there was always a consistent through line you can still follow, from the revolutionary mark on fashion he conjured at his legendary haute couture house to what we know today as Dior Maison, a purveyor of luxury goods for the home. Monsieur Dior, one of the most important fashion designers of the 20th century, introduced the world to what Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow coined the New Look with his first collection in 1947. International acclaim — and a bit of controversy — immediately followed. At the time, this New Look was Christian Dior's biggest gamble, and the impact was unprecedented. Following the war, there was still shortages of material and rationing mandates in place, and a sense of austerity was in the air throughout Europe. Dior's new design, unlike the no-frills wartime frocks women wore, was extravagant, crafted from yards and yards of opulent fabrics that underlined a woman's most feminine attributes, with construction that created cinched wasp waists, with tight bodices beneath small, rounded shoulders, paired with long calf-grazing skirts. But a little-known bit of fashion fact: The year after Dior opened the doors of his atelier, he launched a small boutique on the ground floor for what was once labeled notions and frivolities — gifts and objects for the home. "It had to be 30, avenue Montaigne," wrote Christian Dior in his 1956 memoir — the small hôtel particulier, "as modest in scale as my dream was ambitious." The intimate shop, called Colifichets (French for ornaments), was where he would share his fascination for the French art de vivre with his sophisticated clientele. Here in the boutique, its walls covered in toile de Jouy, you'd discover all sorts of beautiful accessories, from flowers to gloves, stockings to jewelry and scarves; later, Dior would develop the now-famous Dior perfumes. He had something for the men, too: cigarette cases, letter openers, ties, and more, all to celebrate the art of giving. In their book DIOR MAISON, THE ART DE VIVRE DECORATIVE ARM OF CHRISTIAN DIOR, REFERENCES ICONIC DIOR CODES By Laurann Claridge Monsieur Dior at his country house, Le Moulin du Coudret near Fountaine Bleu. From the book Dior and His Decorators, Vendome Press. COLLECTION ROGER-VIOLLET

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