The identity of such an iconic company is also a matter of color – that of Christian Dior is Trianon gray, sometimes called Montaigne gray. The return of a key color in French luxury.
The Dior Gray, The color of Beginnings
1947, was the year that Christian Dior purchased 30 Avenue Montaigne. Just a few steps away from the Plaza Athenee, his couture workshop took place in a private residence – but it lacked the touch of Monsieur. To dress up the rooms of his couture house, he chose gray… but not just any gray.
If Chanel had black, Christian Dior knew that he could bring gray into the world of couture. Why gray? The color choice of the house can be explained in his childhood memories.
In Granville, on a rocky promontory, there is a strange plastered rose villa, called the Rhumbs. This is where Christian Dior grew up, lulled by the stormy nights and the mist of Normandy. But in Granville, pink marries with gray. The love of flowers transmitted by his mother, and the exotic frescoes at the entrance to the Rhumbs, gave young Christian Dior his first aesthetic emotions.
So, when he acquired his private residence, 30 Avenue Montaigne, he made it the head of his workshop. It is natural that he would move towards the shades that are, perhaps, only complementary in an aesthetic sense. But what should it matter, since Dior belongs to him and Dior bears his name. Pink and gray reminded the fashion designer of his childhood home: a skillful mixture of gray gravel on the ground, and a very soft pink plaster.
The Dior Couture Salons
Today, once past the neo-classical facade, clients are immersed in a universe of elegant sobriety. Composed with white moldings and gray Trianon woodwork, neo-Louis XVI medallion armchairs and frames decorated the knots in the Fontages: Everything is in harmony and subtle. The shade of Trianon gray immerses customers in the heart of French Chic.
Furthermore, in his Little Fashion Dictionary, Christian Dior speaks of pink as the color of joy and femininity; and gray is practical and neutral. Practical because it is elegant, in all materials – tweed, wool, or flannel.
This gray made its color. The color he chose to use everywhere in the decoration of his private residence at 30 Avenue Montaigne. The most elegant neutral colors were, for him, an essential to the charm of Avenue Montaigne – decorated but not decorative.
It therefore dresses the place instead of a pearl gray. Walls, draperies and furniture are available in this same gray, and serve as a backdrop for high fashion and ready-to-wear collections. It “brings out the variegated sparkle of Mr. Dior’s couture.” In 1950, he introduced his first perfume, Miss Dior , in a display inspired by the Temple of Love at the Petit Trianon in Versailles – obviously gray!
“This light genius, unique to our time and whose magic name includes God and gold” as Jean Cocteau said about Christian Dior, has just introduced a positive color, a symbol of hope and happiness in the vocabulary of Haute couture. Gray became Dior Gray.
Without fuss, the gray came to evoke this French elegance and this luxury pushed to its climax. Dior gray, a color now protected by a patent, was in Christian’s eyes the perfect shade: “Everything goes well with gray, so it is the recommended color for accessories.” A certain and unchanging composition, which will become the signature of the iconic pieces of the brand, from the Lady Dior to the Grand Bal watch.The signature of esthetes in search of all aristocratic sophistication, too. Kim Jones, the house’s current artistic director, has made it his favorite shade. You just have to see how this gray suits the British tailoring cool because it is uninhibited!