Christian Dior was very superstitious, to the point of establishing in his couture and his company a set of talismans, both guides and good luck charms. There is lily of the valley, clover, star, bee and the number 8.
The Star And The 8 On The Road To Destiny Dior
Christian Dior is known to have been very superstitious, he especially knew how to listen to the signs that surrounded him. In 1919, at only 14 years old, Christian Dior also consulted his first clairvoyant, during a fair in Granville. “You will find yourself without money, but women will benefit you and it is through them that you will succeed. You will get big profits and you will have to make many crossings” she predicted.
In 1946, Christian Dior was about to meet Marcel Boussac. The King of cotton, as we then nicknamed him, wanted to suggest to Dior that he take over the artistic direction of the fashion house Philippe et Gaston. Christian Dior hesitated. The urge to get started was becoming more and more urgent. Three times the meeting was invoked – it is a childhood friend, Georges Vigouroux, crossed three times in a row in the streets of Paris, who knows Marcel Boussac, who tried to convince Dior to change his future.
This evening of April 18, 1946, the day before this important meeting, the legend writes: “while going up Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, Christian Dior hit an object on the ground and failed to fall, as if the object itself was trying to get his attention. He turns around, approaches, and finds that he has just been struck by a star, just outside the British Embassy. His childhood in Granville, in Normandy, awakened in him.
The next day, Christian Dior announced to Marcel Boussac that he will not take over the Philippe and Gaston house, but that he is ready to open a company in his name “where everything would be new from the state of mind and the staff down to the furniture and the room.” After endless discussions with the investor, Dior wins his dream, the Dior house will be born.
It takes place in the heart of the 8th arrondissement of Paris. At 30 Avenue Montaigne, “behind the small hotel at the start, a new eight-story building – eight workshops – with another building, also eight-story, doubled” notes Christian Dior in his memoirs. The 8 is indeed another very suggestive sign.
Chanel had the number 5, and Dior had the 8. It is surely the sensuality of this figure which, marking the infinite once overturned, pleased him so much. Finally, he made it a line – an aesthetic itself. His iconic silhouette which he describes as “clean and shapely, underlined throat, hollowed waist, accentuated hips” This is line 8.
It is therefore no coincidence to find today this figure that will amaze the eye and technology in the Dior Grand VIII, this exceptional watch marked by Dior’s expertise and grammar.
Lily of the Valley, The Clover And The Dior Bee, The Enchanted Garden
Dior was actually carrying a string of lucky charms. He never left without his bunch of charms – a sprig of dried lily of the valley, in an ornate reliquary, a four-leaf clover, the star found on Rue Saint-Honoré, two hearts, a piece of wood and another in gold.
From his favorite flower, lily of the valley, Dior would make it an essential part of his couture. First there is this dried strand which he sews at the hem of each of his creations. Then there is the lily of the valley which he wears in a buttonhole and the one he offers, every May 1st, to his “little hands” and his biggest customers.
Finally, there is lily of the valley in couture – lily of the valley which inspires a whole collection in Spring 1954. The Lily of the Valley Dress enters the annals of fashion history. A dress “at the same time young, flexible and simple” he says; a dress whose pockets of lily of the valley remind her of the “volume of the hat, volume of the bust, volume of the skirt. He loves thrush so much that he arranged for his florist to have it all year round at his disposal.
Dior’s enchanted garden is also the four-leaf clover. This symbol of luck, the designer gave him a considerable place in the choices of his destiny. A little less present in couture, it is the jeweler Victoire de Castellanne who sublimates its heritage in crazy and grandiloquent jewelry. Like a talisman, the clover is adorned here with a green stone, the Amazonite – a symbol of trust.
Finally, if the bee was so dear to Christian Dior, it was because it was, in his eyes, the quickest insect to symbolize the strength and vigor of its fashion house. “A small hive full to bursting, that is what my house was when I presented my first collection” notes Christian Dior in his memoirs. Its seamstresses, Dior nicknamed them “the bees” – conscientious and busy, they are capable of achieving exploits. Sometimes more than 400 or 500 hours of work to make a single dress.
Recently, it was for a sublime crazy coat imagined by Kim Jones that they once again demonstrated the full extent of their genius – 900 hours of embroidery to complete such a couture miracle. The quintessence of Dior know-how is in the hands of its ‘bees’.