By Stéphane Le Duc

When Christian Dior presented the “New Look” in 1947, he also released his most famous perfume, Miss Dior, as a tribute to his sister, and to all the woman of his entourage. The fragrance became an emblem of the House of Dior. Following the Second World War, the couturier wanted to initiate his own revolution that would help everyone forget about the horrible past years. “I am a reactionary, which is often misconceived as retrograde. We were just barely coming out of a dark parsimonious and impoverished period, obsessed with tickets and point textiles. Naturally, my dream took form as a reaction against this poverty.”

An exhibition is being held at the Grand Palais in Paris to give homage to the designer’s creative spirit, passion for the arts and his eternal muses. The luxury company gave free hand to 15 internationally renowned women artists to create pieces dedicated to the universe of Dior. The artists were inspired by recognizable symbols, like the bow, the rose, the hound’s-tooth motif, drawings by René Gruau and the actress Natalie Portman, face of the Miss Dior ad campaign.

It is through a singular view of the archives and rare images that we get to see the evolution of Dior. Also presented are works by artists with whom the designer was well acquainted: Bernard Buffet, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Giacometti. Mythical pieces by the couturier are presented, from the flamboyantly red “Concerto” dress (1957) to the famous “Bar” suit (1947), including modern creations by Raf Simons, who revisited classics like the little “Miss Dior” dress.

The biggest attraction of this event is still in the creations of the 15 artists. The inspiration for Joana Vasconcelos, a Portuguese artist who is known for working with plastic, came from the delicate bow that adorns the Miss Dior bottle. She facetiously states “J’adore Miss Dior” with her giant bow, composed of hundreds of J’adore bottles. The French designer Ionna Vautrin vested all her attention to the Miss Dior glove, based on an original illustration by Gruau. She imagined an immense kiosk where the ceiling is covered with pink, white and black gloves. Tomoko Shioyasu chose to celebrate the rose, queen of the Dior garden. She worked with the creations of Victoire de Castellane for the Haute Jewelry of Dior. The Japanese artist made a white paper screen, covered with a myriad of cutout figures that form an immaculate rose. Brazilian sculptor Maria Nepomuceno also took inspiration from the Miss Dior perfume for her highly colourful and vivid installation. She made ceramic reproductions of various elements of the bottle, giving birth to a seamless and organic sprawl of pearls, crochets and plastic pieces. Finally, American artist Polly Apfelbaum applied the hound’s-tooth motif to ornate a gigantic multicolored tapestry. This unique course of artist’s works presents the soul and history of the House of Dior.

Once again, Dior has endued the French capital with sparkle and charm, continuing to inspire artists and lovers from across the globe.

MISS DIOR
GRAND PALAIS PARIS
FROM NOVEMBER 13th TO 25th, 2013
Free Exposition Open to the Public
www.espritdior.com

Miss Dior Eau de Toilette © Courtesy of Dior

Hannah Starkey. Bow, 2013. Photography © Hannah Starkey

Maria Nepomuceno.
Delilah, 2012-2013. Pearls, rope, ceramic, fiberglass, resin, woven straw.

Nika Zupanc. Room of one's own, 2013.

Nika Zupanc. Room of one's own, 2013. Photography © Sasa Hess

Shirin Neshat.
Illusions and Mirrors, 2013. HD video installation, 14 min filmed in New York.
Actress: Natalie Portman. Director: Shirin Neshat. Produced in association with Dior.

Shirin Neshat.
Illusions and Mirrors, 2013. HD video installation, 14 min filmed in New York.
Actress: Natalie Portman. Director: Shirin Neshat. Produced in association with Dior.

Carole Benzaken. Arborescence, 2012. Blown glass stretched by hand (glassworker : Stéphane Rivoal) Photography © David Bordes

Liang Yuanwei.
In to the dust, 2012.
Oil on canvas.
Photography © Surface

Liang Yuanwei.
In to the dust, 2012.
Oil on canvas.
Photography © Surface

Rose Dior Bagatelle Pink Sapphire ring © Courtesy of Dior

Tomoko Shioyasu. Spiral Rose, 2012
Synthetic paper.

© SARL René Grunau

Ionna Vautrin. Gloriette, 2013.

Carla Mattii. Type Garden #5.
Sintered nylon, wood.

Alyson Shotz. Infinite Rose, 2013. Steel, acrylic, dichroic film.

Alyson Shotz. Infinite Rose, 2013. Steel, acrylic, dichroic film.

Joana Vasconcelos.
J’Adore Miss Dior, 2013. Photography © Bruno Portela / Unidade Infinita Projectos

Joana Vasconcelos.
J’Adore Miss Dior, 2013. Photography © Bruno Portela / Unidade Infinita Projectos

Joana Vasconcelos.
J’Adore Miss Dior, 2013.

Karen Kilmnik.
Untitled (Folly for Dior), 2013.

Karen Kilmnik.
Untitled (Folly for Dior), 2013. © Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich

Lara Baladi. 'Don't Touch Me Tomatoes & chachacha' for Miss Dior, 2013. Video installation, © Courtesy Lara of Baladi

Lee Bul. Cella, 2012-2013. Acrylic, mirrors, acrylic pearls & glass, paint on polystyrene. Photography © Christophe Nivaggioli

Lee Bul. Cella, 2012-2013. Acrylic, mirrors, acrylic pearls & glass, paint on polystyrene.

Lee Bul. Cella, 2012-2013. Acrylic, mirrors, acrylic pearls & glass, paint on polystyrene.

Lee Bul. Cella, 2012-2013. Acrylic, mirrors, acrylic pearls & glass, paint on polystyrene. Photography © Christophe Nivaggioli

Preliminary work. Cella, 2012. Ink & acrylic.

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