Couture may have been his bread and butter, but Christian Dior was also a consummate gourmet. So much so that in 1972, the house released a cookbook, “La Cuisine Cousu-Main.”
Boasting illustrations for each category of recipes by René Gruau, the metal-covered tome was filled with the kinds of classic French dishes Dior liked to order at his favorite Parisian “tables” including La Coupole, Brasserie Lipp, La Tour d’Argent, Le Stresa, the Ritz Paris and Maxim’s. (Prunier’s menu still offers a boiled egg and caviar dish named after Dior.)
The couturier’s epicurean tendencies even led him to name a number of gowns after dishes and drinks. Case in point: Among the looks in his fall 1947 collection were Bonbon (Candy), Chantilly (Whipped Cream), Châtaigne (Chestnut) and Petit Dîner (Light Supper).
“He loved traditional French dishes like sauerkraut, steak with coarse sea salt, leg of lamb or ham shank,” said Soizic Pfaff, head of Christian Dior Archive. “One of the reasons he chose to have [Dior headquartered] on Avenue Montaigne was that it was also home to the Plaza Athénée, where he liked to go to eat.”
As a cash-strapped young man in the Twenties, Dior lived above another of his favorite bistro haunts: Parisian cabaret Le Bœuf sur le Toit. His love of rich ingredients and bon vivant ways ultimately contributed to his untimely death in 1957. (Dior is rumored to have died from a heart attack after choking on a fish bone, though Pfaff could not confirm it.)
Each copy of Dior’s book, meanwhile, came with a bookmark based on a hand-drawn menu from a dinner held by the couturier in 1940 to celebrate the New Year. Recipes include duck with peaches, pheasant à la Dom Pérignon and chestnut salad.