The story of Monsieur Dior and the rose begins in 1906 on the cliff tops of Granville, in Normandy. Christian Dior is barely one year old and his parents have just acquired a large villa, whose name “Rhumbs” evokes the compass rose and is to trace the destiny of the young Christian. “Pebbledash in a very soft pink mixed with grey gravel, these two colours have always been my favourites for my fashions”, he is later to explain when recalling the villa in his autobiography Christian Dior and I.
His mother, Madeleine Dior, imagines an English style garden surrounding their home and lets her son give free rein to his imagination in what is to become the rose garden. Is it here that the winds blew, wafting Christian Dior and his roses far away to the Avenue Montaigne?
The roses of Granville, in shades of orangey pink, yellowy pink and powdery white, are to become the couturier’s favourite pattern. They can be found printed, embroidered and brocaded on evening dresses. They are also a part of Christian Dior’s daily life as he collects rose-patterned porcelain and likes to see it adorning the 18th Century mantelpieces in the Grand Salon, Avenue Montaigne. And naturally, roses are the flowers which take pride of place in his garden at Milly-la-Forêt, near to Paris.
Thus the rose, so important in Christian Dior’s life and work, has also become important in the Dior Joaillerie collections. Victoire de Castellane adorns her “Rose Dior Bagatelle” rings with white or fancy coloured diamonds, sets her “Rose Dior Pré Catelan” collection with coral, onyx, chalcedony, pink quartz and amethyst or even cultivates roses around a central stone in her “Précieuses Rose”.