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Christian Dior, the path of a fashion designer

Through the collections of the museum

07.01 — 01.03

Nearly 100 designs and haute-couture accessories accompanied by pictures, archives and personal objects that Christian Dior cherished, such as his lucky star, his last diary and his pair of scissors recount the exceptional path of the designer. He was born in the villa called Les Rhumbs in Granville in 1905, his childhood house which became the musée Christian Dior in 1997. The museum set up a large selection of his collections in all of its rooms for the occasion. These collections have regularly been broadened for 30 years. The recent acquisitions are particularly brought out by the museum, whether they were purchased or given.

Christian Dior was a dreaming and reserved child who spent the first years of his life in this lovely, green background. The villa faces the sea and is protected from the eyes and ears of people coming from the city. Family pictures enable one to enter the private life of a middle-class family that allowed young Christian to have a happy-go-lucky and preserved childhood. Some of these pictures have rarely been shown. The industrial business led by his father, Maurice, is then well established. He is associated with his cousin Lucien, who was also the mayor of Granville and the Minister for Trade and Industry. There are documents and pictures to prove it in the exhibit. Visitors are immersed in the atmosphere of the belle époque at the beginning of the 20th century while being surrounded several outfits, that have been lent by the musée d'art et d'histoire of Granville. At that time, well-dressed women were walking on the Promenade of Plat Gousset, next to the casino. Madeleine Dior, the mother who Christian loved deeply, was a part of them. Les Rhumbs and its English-style garden have left its mark on him during all his life and constituted an inexhaustible source of inspiration: “My childhood home... I bear the most affectionate and amazed memory in mind. What am I saying? My life and my style are largely owed to its situation and its architecture” (extract of the memoirs of Christian Dior, Christian Dior et moi, Amyot Dumont, 1956). Models inspired by the sea atmosphere or floral-patterned dresses that recall the garden of his childhood show how much these surroundings inspired him. 

Throughout the house's rooms, from a floor to another, haute-couture creations parade as well as associated savoir-faire such as embroidery or fur. New-Look emblematic models, a line Christian Dior created at the end of the war, enable people to understand the worldwide and instantaneous success of his fashion house as soon as his first show took place in February 1947. The dress called Diablesse (Autumn-Winter 1947) that opened the exhibition Christian Dior, couturier du rêve in the musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2018 illustrates it perfectly. Models that have been recently acquired by the museum including the dresses called Agnès (Spring-Summer 1955) and Papillon Jaune (Spring-Summer 1951) will be disclosed for the first time. The success of fragrance adds itself to the success of couture soon after. Miss Dior, created by Christian Dior in tribute to his young sister Catherine will be the first fragrance. Through a gathering of photographies by Willy Maywald or Emile Savitry and from magazines of that time, the smile on famous models' face of the Maison Dior tells all about how much happiness wearing those feminine dresses brings to them, as much as their attachment to their creator and to this House they represent. Finally, the visitor enters the backstage of the haute-couture studio at the last floor of the house to end his track by the dream of the show. The exhibition Christian Dior, itinéraire d'un couturier illustrates the diversity and the richness of the collections of the musée Christian Dior, which became Musée de France in 2002 and were labelled Maison des Illustres in 2011 while enabling visitors to follow the path of an exceptional couturier who was born in Granville.

Musée Christian Dior, Granville

Villa Les Rhumbs, 1 rue d'Estouteville
50400 Granville
07.01 - 01.03 10:00-18:30
Tarif plein : 9€
Tarif réduit : 7€
  • Diablesse, 1947

  • Saphir, 1951