After an extensive two-year renovation, Dior has reopened its consecrated flagship at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Built in 1865 by the son of Napoleon I, the 8th arrondissement hôtel particulier has been synonymous with the brand since its inception in December 1946; the following month, the couturier of the same name reinvented postwar fashion with the “New Look”.
Under the supervision of leading fashion architect Peter Marino, who has been collaborating with the house for over 25 years, the renovated 10,000 square meter space is a true Dior ecosphere. In addition to boutiques for women and men, the space includes the atelier, haute couture salons, three gardens, a restaurant, a patisserie and a private apartment for VIP clients. But the highlight is the 13-room Galerie Dior, accessible through a separate entrance.
Art is within the origins and codes of the maison, in fact, before embarking on a career in fashion, Christian Dior was a gallery owner. He co-founded the Galerie Jacques Bonjean in Paris in 1928 and since 1931 he has been affiliated with the Galerie Pierre Colle, which has held two exhibitions of Salvador Dalí: it was the first space in which to exhibit his paintings. The persistence of memory—Also showcasing artists such as Picasso, Man Ray, Joan Miró and Max Ernst.
The successful retrospective “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” recently concluded its time at the Brooklyn Museum after stopping in London, Shanghai and Paris. But there is still an excess of topics to be curated, from the sublime and slightly crazy fantasies of the John Galiano era (see the Egyptian-inspired fashion of spring 2003; the chic delirium of autumn 2004) to the short tenure of Raf Simon, full of flowers, the creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and her current kingdom for the first woman.
That excess can be found in all its glory at La Galerie Dior, which is dedicated to the house, its history, its founder and his six successors. Nathalie Criniere drew the scenographic narratives of the retrospective and those of the current layout of the gallery. “This is a fashion house with a past, a present and a future,” she said in a video of the brand. “The great thing about writing a story is seeing it evolve, just like life.”
Fear not, the iconic black iron balustrade staircase that framed so many iconic shows is still intact (as is Dior’s original office). The gallery riffs on the original staircase with a sparkling new white spiraling through a rainbow “colourama” of miniature clothing and accessories, like a twister that transports you to the Dior version of Oz.
Follow Artnet news on Facebook:
Do you want to keep up with the art world? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest news, eye-opening interviews, and punchy critiques that keep the conversation going.