“Monsieur Dior loved flowers from when he was little. During his childhood, he was surrounded by them. He took care of the rose garden at his home in Granville,” said François Demachy, perfumer-creator at Parfums Christian Dior, referring to the designer’s house in Normandy, France.
“His first artistic creation was part of the garden, the pergola. Christian Dior, at the age of 15, transformed it at the request of his mother,” said Vincent Leret, patrimony project manager and responsible for the collection at Parfums Christian Dior.
Dior would then go on to create more gardens, most spectacularly at the Château de La Colle Noire, in the south of France.
It’s no wonder, then, that all of Dior’s fragrances have a heady dose of flower power. “In the structure, there is always a floral part that’s very important,” Demachy said.
That was true starting with the very first scents the house of Dior produced, including Miss Dior, Eau Fraîche and Diorissimo.
Colors used by Dior often took a cue from flowers, too. A case in point is pink: The designer equated the hue (“rose,” in French) with happiness, and what was called “Rose Bonheur” (or “Happy Pink”) popped up in some of the house’s fashion collections, such as for fall 1949 and fall 1950.
“Dior devoted many couture collections to flowers,” Leret continued, citing for instance Corole, the house’s first collection, for spring 1947, and the Muguet collection presented for spring 1954.
In the Fifties and Sixties, muguet (or lily of the valley) — a fetish flower for Dior — inspired numerous dresses and accessories, including fragrances, jewelry, scarves and shoes. One such dress, from the spring 1957 collection, is on display in the retrospective “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
“Dior learned the name of flowers by heart, but also understood their balance, the architectural construction,” Leret said.
The Miss Dior dress for spring 1949 took a cue from a bouquet of flowers, and for spring 1950, Dior presented a Tulip line.
“When you follow nature — for your color schemes — you can never go far wrong,” Dior once wrote.