’Dior J’ador!’ Dives Exhibit at House Heritage: Exclusive – WWD

Paris – Dior’s blockbuster J’Adore women’s fragrance is the star of a sweeping new exhibition that mines the brand’s heritage. The show opens to the public on Wednesday at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

„Dior J’ador!” Launched in 1999, LVMH Moët Hennessy is a celebration of the house’s best-selling women’s fragrance owned by Louis Vuitton, and see its centrality in Dior – not least because of the brand’s key association with gold and artists. even today.

The fragrance’s name comes from an expression of adoration – „j’adore” – often used by Christian Dior, and by designer John Galliano, recently in the house’s history.

The exhibition tells the story of J’Adour, bringing together the history of Dior, which began in 1947 in both fashion and fragrance. It is a multi-part story spanning decades and connected by a golden thread. This includes the founding designer’s love of flowers and the latest creation in J’Adore’s portfolio called L’Or de J’Adore, conceived by Francis Kurkdjian, Dior’s creative director of fragrances.

„L’Or de J’Adore is about the idea of ​​gold,” Kurkjian said, explaining that he was interested in the process of obtaining pure gold.

The exhibition begins at the Beaux-Arts’ 13 Quai Malaquais entrance, after which visitors ascend the golden staircase. They then walk down a golden corridor, reminiscent of the necklace around a bottle of J’Adour, with the word „Dior” emblazoned across it.

„This is the first time that gold, one of the most important aspects of our heritage, has been explored in depth and detail,” explained a Dior spokesperson, adding that gold connects Dior’s entire story, from J’Adour to the house’s fashion. Leather goods and jewellery. „Gold is not a color, it’s actually a Dior signature style element. And, of course, J’Adore is a perfect symbol for that.

Jean Cocteau famously wrote that Dior’s „magical name incorporates 'God’ and 'gold.’

The exhibit also examines Dior and the artist’s relationship through the prism of J’Adore, Kurkjian said.

„People often forget that before Dior was a couturier, he was a gallerist,” said the perfumer, adding that Dior was only a couturier in his last decade. „Before that, Christian Dior basically had three lives: one as a student who wanted to be an architect, the second as a gallerist. The third was Christian Dior as a gardener.

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„Basically, with a couture brand, it’s a bit of everything,” Kurkdjian said.

At the beginning of the exhibition, there is a Dior portrait of Yan Bei-Ming from 2009. A spokesperson echoed the designer’s vision for the painting, describing it as „genre” and „avant garde”.

Next is a room called „Création d’une icône” or „Creation of an Icon,” which has Belle-Époque inspirations on the right. Among them is a photo of Christian Dior’s mother, Madeleine Dior, wearing layers of pearls in her 20s, and a long gold necklace that appeared in Galliano’s first fashion show. Both jewelers helped Herve van der Straten create J’Adore’s original bottle design. It involves a baudruchage technique involving wrapped gold threads, reminiscent of a necklace.

There are many early sketches and mock-ups of J’Adour. Miniatures of archive Dior dresses stand here.

The left side contains more items linked to Dior’s New Look. There are many Dior amphora-shaped bottles that were close to the heart of Christian Dior, who used that flagon shape for Miss Dior, and which ultimately inspired the J’Adore bottle.

„It’s always the same line — fluid, very feminine — nothing square,” said the spokesperson, adding the shape of J’Adore’s bottle resembles a drop of perfume.

There are also miniature fashion looks, gold jewellery, leather goods and shoes. Dior’s talismans, such as a gold star, a lily of the valley and a small owl charm, are among the 153 items on display in the room.

Afterwards, you can watch one of Katerina Zepp’s pieces – a video showing her scanning Dior dresses and perfume bottles.

There’s a room where white paper cutout flowers act as a screen for photos and videos chronicling some key parts of Christian Dior’s life.

„It’s a three-minute journey through time,” said the spokesperson, referring to images such as Villa Les Rumps in Granville, France, Dior’s childhood home, and his mother’s flower catalog.

„Step by step, we’re traveling through Dior’s different estates,” the spokesperson said. In the south of France, La Colle Noir’s garden includes the Dior Country Retreat and other locations in the region, where his namesake brand now works with producers to grow the aromatic flowers that are at the heart of J’Adore.

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At the center of this room guests can smell J’Adore’s four accords. The scent has been revisited over the years by various perfumers including Callies Becker, François Demachy and Kurkjian.

At Dior, gold is used in a simple, detailed way or in a very rich and extravagant way.

In a room with 108 screens, the most iconic J’Adore campaigns with Charlize Theron (Château de Versailles Hall of Mirrors spot) and Carmen Cos (think floating in liquid gold). Many were lensed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, but also Jean-Jacques Anat, Romain Gavras, Craig McDean and Peter Lindbergh.

Next door is a room drenched in gold — that is, the liquid runs down the walls — and a large bottle of L’Or de J’Adore on a pedestal in the middle. The smell of fresh fragrance wafts here.

Beyond Fred Eerdekens sculpture, anagrams, lights and shadows – there is a large wall with 213 miniatures of Dior clothes, leather goods, accessories and J’Adore bottles in various shades of gold.

Adorning the center of the space is a giant sculpture by Jean-Michel Odoniel, resembling an open flower made of beads.

„What I love about this project is being able to reduce a monumental sculpture to an intimate level,” he said. “When I find myself alone drawing around watercolors, that’s the moment I put my emotions on paper. In the end, the materials I used in this project were very classic: bronze, gold, crystals… materials that had to be rediscovered.

“I believe that art and fragrance complement each other,” he continued. „First of all, I think the approach of a perfumer is sensitive and artistic. They create universes where you can project yourself, see yourself and be surprised. I am inspired by the perspective of perfumery, which is the relationship between the artist and the artist, how two people create a work of art. . It is very difficult to characterize this sculpture in one word because it is full of features. It is full of surprises like a fragrance.”

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Another room contains three limited edition bottles, a reinterpretation of J’Adour Flacon’s Othoniel, Victoire de Castellane and India Mahdavi.

There are photos of Yuriko Takagi with fragrances and flowers.

Dior’s savoir-faire is contained within the room’s white frames, whose walls are decorated with images of the brand’s fragrance bottles, such as Jules, Poison, Eau Fraîche, Eau Sauvage, Dior Homme, Dune and Fahrenheit. Here, Dior artisans will demonstrate to visitors the patrusage technique.

Nearby is an undulating, high-speed video installation by Refik Anatole, an artist who consulted with Kurdjian.

„For this collaboration, the process starts with imagination. Inspired by the bottle design, finding a new language, but without losing the tradition. It’s a beautiful challenge, it’s the basis of a fragrance, and then turns them into a new sculpture,” said Anatole.

He and Gurjian thought about how to turn the L’Or de J’Adore fragrance formula into digital artwork.

„A real one,” Kurkjian said. „I wanted it to make sense.”

He shared Anatole data regarding components, ingredient numbers and weights translated into numbers.

„I fed him all that, and then he started playing with those numbers with his computers to create digital art,” Kurkjian said. „The rest is about his magic.”

„When I met Francis, it was an incredible, inspiring conversation,” Anatole continued. „It’s very powerful to imagine that his art is actually represented by numbers. The formula, the smell, I mean those numbers, when they come together they have a meaning.

The final room of the exhibition, called „Rêve Couture,” or „Couture Dream,” is an exhibition of 23 Dior dresses from across the ages — including Golden Couture creations by Dior designer Galliano, Gianfranco Ferre, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Marc Bohn. , as well as J’Adore campaign clothing.

„There’s a party spirit – Dior is a golden party,” the spokesperson said. „It’s a Dior ball.”

„Dior J’ador!” Runs till October 8. It is open daily from 10 am to 7:30 pm CET. Reservations for the exhibition can be made through dior.com.

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