Couture chic of Dior’s country retreat

Driveway at La Colle Noire

Maureen Footer reveals how the Provençal hideaway of fashion designer Christian Dior inspired his work

At physical remove from Paris and light-years from the action on the Côte d’Azur, the nineteenth-century bastide La Colle Noire, near Grasse, emanates the spirit of Dior. Its vineyards, olive groves, Renaissance stone lions, and shaded Italian garden mingle past with present. Cool tiled hallways, glimpses of linen velvet, and Emilio Terry influences add calm and charm. If his house in Passy was a civilized nest amid the demands of Paris and Le Moulin du Coudret represented an escape from the city, La Colle Noire, with its solid dignity, was Dior’s chosen home.

Purchased in 1950, the coaching inn turned manor house was Dior’s final domestic creation, and still a work in progress at the time of his death in 1957. Just as another of his last creations – the 1957 city dress “Palais de Glace,” with tidy bodice, slender sleeves, and meticulously gathered skirt – signalled in its sobriety, beauty, and understatement a return to the vision ...

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