For the first time in the house’s history, Dior has opened the doors of Christian Dior’s legendary château in the south of France, La Colle Noire, with an exhibition showcasing the work of twelve women from the international art scene.
The exhibition - which opens on the 15th of October for two weeks - pays homage to the house’s most iconic perfume - Miss Dior; with each of the twelve contributors creating their own interpretation of the perfume - bringing it to life with sculptures, paintings and intricate glasswork, by artists such as Bethan Laura Wood, Mimosa Echard and Morgane Tschiember.
But it’s not only the 12 artworks that make it a visit you’ll never forget; situated in the Varois countryside, the picture-perfect château overlooks the plains of Montauroux - a small village near Grasse, and the long-acknowledged cradle of perfumery. The surrounding landscape, with hearty olive groves and fragrant rose fields, as well as the Pinterest-worthy interiors of Christian’s home, are truly special to experience in the flesh.
The Story of Miss Dior
You will likely recognise signature scent, but how acquainted are you with the story behind this historic perfume? Christian Dior’s muse for MIss Dior was his sister Catherine, whom he was very close to and admired immensely. Catherine was an active member of the French Resistance and even survived deportation. It was this unwavering strength and bravery, alongside her heartfelt passion for flowers, that Christian wanted to capture in his scent. One spritz and you get where he was going - with that initial hit of green chypre enhanced by a softer, comforting haze of rose.
In Conversation with British Artist, Bethan Laura Wood
‘When Dior asked me about making a sculptural piece in response to the iconic Miss Dior perfume I really liked the idea of using its strong silhouette,’ says Bethan Laura Wood, the only British designer in the Miss Dior Exhibition contingent, ‘it’s such an important part of the new look. Yes, it’s very floral, traditional and feminine but on the other hand it’s very graphic. You can see the link between the structuring of Dior garments and the bottle.’
Bethan’s chose to reinterpret the idea of a folly for the Miss Dior Exhibition. ‘I wanted to make something that spoke to the two sides of the Miss Dior woman. I love follies, these small architectural elements that have very little physical function. You can’t live in them, they’re really a space for dreaming. It was that sort of romanticism – the idea of fantasy and dreaming – that I felt connected well with the perfume.’ Bethan used the silver of the new-look Miss Dior bottle to inform the main structure of her design, and the cascade of flowers speaks to the scent.
Naturally, Bethan was dedicated in her research, too. ‘I looked through different photographs of ladies from the 1940s and 1950s. I love those oversaturated pictures, the strong colour block they often have behind them. A lot of the photographs from that time have a noticeably lime green tone to theme and so I found some lime green glass that I could work with.’ Bethan’s passion for both the history and enduring relevance of the House of Dior is palpable; ‘I love how everything still looks radical. We got a tour of the house and there were five different Dior gowns on display, ranging from the 1950s to the present day. It was inspiring.’
Bethan is undeniably excited about seeing her design brought to life at the château, ‘there’s nothing like being able to physically come and sit in the beautiful garden and discover all those little nuances.’ Is there something special about a women-only exhibition? ‘I’m lucky in that I’m surrounded by a lot of strong women in my work. I work with an amazing female gallerist, and so on. But the reality is that outside of my own context, the balance between male and female representation in the art world just isn’t there. That’s why, though I don’t think it’s progressive to limit oneself to women-only shows all the time, it is still so important to have shows and exhibitions like this that highlight and celebrate women. It’s been so lovely to meet the other women who are part of this exhibition and hang out. It makes for a really important dialogue.’
Shop: Miss Dior Eau de Parfum
Shop: Miss Dior Eau de Parfum
The exhibition is open between 15th-29th October, 2021.
To find out more visit: www.expositionmissdior.com