Arguably, no other fashion house is as closely associated with the floral world as Dior. Its founder Christian Dior having had a life-long passion for flowers and gardens, manifested in both the embroidery and design flourishes of his haute couture work, as well as on the grounds of his homes. Most notably was his home in the south of France, Chateau de la Colle Noire where Monsieur Dior tended to acres of rose and jasmine plants.
As new creative directors took over the House of Dior, the floral connection never wilted: be it with Marc Bohan and his penchant for delicate ribbon and floral appliques, John Galliano who could conjure flowers out of silk and organza or Raf Simons whose show sets were escapist floral fantasies, to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s floral accented collections and Kim Jones, who isn’t afraid to infuse romance and delicacy to his men’s collections.
And a new book entitled Dior In Bloom celebrates this wondrous connection with nature. “In my collections, flowers pay tribute to the identity and heritage of the House of Dior, but they also allow me to communicate, in some way, with Monsieur Dior, who had the extraordinary ability to integrate this deep passion into his work,” writes Chiuri in the book.
The book also highlights how flowers have informed other product categories at Dior including Victoire de Castellane’s whimsical jewelry and of course the fragrances which use petals plucked by hand from flower fields in Grasse. “When we perceive a familiar smell, we relive memories of the entire scene where we smelled it before… Some recollections are deeply ingrained and overwhelming, such as the fragrance of a field of jasmine at dawn,” writes Dior’s head of perfume Francois Demachy. Jasmine is the main note of the best-selling fragrance Miss Dior, a smell described by Monsieur Dior as the “scent of love.”
Dior In Bloom is an elegant and beautiful book that is as much about the fashion house as it is about flowers. The celebrated photographer Nick Knight has produced ethereal pictures of roses in various stages of bloom for the book. In between the pages are essays on the symbolisms of flowers like violets, tuberose and lavender. But of course there are the sumptuous photographs of flower-inflected ballgowns and accessories, the gardens of Chateau de la Colle Noire, flower pickers amidst acres and acres of roses, and fashion show sets festooned with garlands.
So go ahead, skip the cliche red roses from the bodega this Valentine’s Day and give your cherished one Dior In Bloom instead.