During our summer visit to Paris, we dedicated a decent time to two iconic couturiers – Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. In our last article we covered the ‘Yves Saint Laurent aux Musées’ exhibitions, now let us guide you to one of the most emblematic fashion addresses in Paris: the Dior museum and boutique at avenue Montaigne.
‘Fashion designers offer one of the last refuges of the marvellous. They are, in a way, the masters of dreams…’ said Christian Dior (Dior by Dior, 1958). The ‘office of dreams’, as Monsieur Dior referred to his headquarters, is finally open together with the legendary boutique at 30 avenue Montaigne.
The whole building went under extensive renovation and was inaugurated this March. Since then, it has become a place of pilgrimage for every hardcore fashionista.
French fashion designer Christian Dior (21 January 1905 – 24 October 1957) was the creator of the ‘New Look’ and one of the most prominent players in the reestablishment of Paris as the centre of the fashion world after WWII. The House of Dior (now owned by parent company LVMH) was founded on 16 December 1946at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris. The Dior Collections have been created within these walls for more than 70 years. The firm occupied more and more space within the building as it grew organically.
In 1951, Dior installed the Christian Dior Parfums, the studio, and the archives in another building just around the corner at 11, rue François 1er, before completely annexing it by 1952. In 1955, he launched Paris’ most elegant boutique by taking over the corner building between the two (at the addresses 15, rue François 1er and 32, avenue Montaigne). Within a few years from its inception the House of Dior spread over five buildings with 28 workshops at its disposal, and employed 1,000 people.
This March, La Galerie Dior has been opened as a museum for the public with 13 thematic rooms that capture the spirit of Parisian Haute Couture while displaying looks, original sketches and archive documents, as well as accessories and exceptional pieces – many of them are exhibited for the first time ever.
The displays portray Christian Dior throughout his career and his six successors: Yves Saint Laurent (whom Dior hired as his assistant at the age of 17 and who, after Dior’s death in 1957 took over the couture house), Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Soizic Pfaff, the director of Dior Heritage, has worked for Christian Dior since 1974. She curated and sourced garments, documents, photographs and objects for the La Galerie Dior. Thanks to her and her department, the museum’s collection is very rich and allows the visitors to immerse themselves in the exceptional heritage of Dior and his ‘packed little beehive’.
Due to its vast content, we spent far more time in the museum than I expected and I would like to come back for another round. The Café offers delicacies for the visitors – the chocolate mousse is a must-try.
The Dior boutique at Avenue Montaigne reopened after two-and-a-half years renovation and it completely redefines the meaning of a flagship store. The 10,000 square-metre Dior space includes a gallery space, gardens, rooftop terrace and a 200 sqm guest suite. On the ground floor, women’s creations – including ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, bags and small leather goods – are displayed alongside men’s pieces. On the first floor, exceptional pieces in exotic leathers and evening wear can be found near the fine jewellery and timepiece collections, and the Dior Maison and men’s Demi Mesure brands.
The ‘Dior universe’ is a beautiful and exciting environment to showcase the designs of Maria Grazia Chiuri for womenswear, Kim Jones for menswear, and Victoire de Castellane for watches and jewellery. The current interior set up is mainly inspired by the Dioriviera summer capsule collection designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The Dior universe wouldn’t be complete without fine cuisine venues. Le Restaurant Monsieur Dior and La Pâtisserie Dior invite guests to taste the creations of the French ‘chef to the stars’ Jean Imbert. For both menus, he let himself be inspired by the House’s history. Tableware by Maison Dior enhances the pleasures visually even further.
Peter Marino, the emblematic American architect was the designer of the ‘complete experience’ (as Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of Christian Dior calls it), which in today’s online world is incredibly important.
If you’re in Paris and are into fashion, make sure you visit this iconic location. Get your ticket here to the La Galerie Dior.
Planning your trip to Paris in summer 2022? Read my tips about the latest exhibitions here.