Miss Dior display cabinet, inspired by the Temple of Love at the Petit Trianon in Versailles, 1950
© Philippe Schlienger

Christian Dior was very attached to the 18th century, frequently conjuring up an era that reminded him of his childhood. The drawing rooms of the family house in Granville and the Parisian apartment occupied by the Diors were both decorated in neo-18th-century style. When he took possession of the townhouse at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Christian Dior turned to his friend, the architect and decorator Victor Grandpierre. Together they created a neo-classical interior design that the couturier felt was the perfect setting for his collections and dresses.

Customers arriving on the other side of the neo-Regency façade find themselves in a world of muted elegance, made up of white beading and Trianon gray paneling, neo-Louis XVI medallion chairs, and frames decorated with Fontange bows, where harmony and restraint reign supreme. The artist Christian Bérard, Dior’s friend and artistic alter ego, brought his feel for sumptuous but unpretentious design to the ground-floor Colifichets boutique. Hung in Jouy toile, the boutique recreates the mood of an 18th-century shop selling luxurious trifles, with counters, Louis XVI-style chairs, and an artistically arranged pile of Dior hat boxes. The entire House, from salons to corridors and fitting rooms, is bathed in a luminous and airy atmosphere, in homage to the Enlightenment.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Gabrielle Yolande Claude Martine de Polastron, duchesse de Polignac, 1782
Oil on canvas, Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Christian Dior and his successors have often created contemporary versions of the dresses worn by Marie Antoinette at the Petit Trianon. Victor Grandpierre adopted a similar approach to presenting the Dior perfumes, a notable example being a display stand based on the Temple of Love that stood in the middle of the Queen’s English garden at Trianon. Christian Dior had a soft spot for the women of pre-revolutionary France, who can also be admired in the work of Madame Vigée Le Brun, the sovereign’s favorite portrait painter.