Do go and see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern if you can. As well as the flower paintings, New Mexico landscapes and some lovely early synesthesia-inspired abstracts, there’s a room of Alfred Stieglitz photographs of O’Keeffe.
For the third in my Petit Déjeuner film series, we’re celebrating the reawakening of the London Dior flagship store. Petit Déjeuner is all about new beginnings and reinvention, and after four years of renovation, we’re finally seeing the reawakening of this sleeping beauty.
What’s the role of a flagship store these days? The flagship (or ‘Maison’ as many like to call theirs) is more important than ever, in the era of bricks vs clicks. If the phone, app, website or e-commerce portal is the convenience store, then the Maison is the beautiful, leisurely experience that to me, is real luxury. As Dior’s Sidney Toledano says, “The real deal is time. The young generation, whether they are 15, 18, 20, they want everything fast. But maturity is giving meaning to time. Time is dreaming. We give the ability to the people to have a moment of dreaming.”
So enter the vast, four-level listed building (actually two buildings now co-joined) and you’re in a grand cathedral to all things chic and beautiful. From the jasmine-trellised conservatory (that had to stay due to listed building status), to the stately marble staircase, to the neo-Louis XV1 furniture (a nod to the elegant Parisian house codes), it’s like entering the most decadent, life size dollshouse. And fittingly, there’s an exclusive home collection to add to the Dior universe. Think crystal glassware, hand embroidered linens and a range of teas inspired by Dior fragrances.
On the subject of fragrance, the perfume department is decorated by the most wonderful porcelain sculpture wall by Beth Katleman. Yes, you will want to linger here for a while. And wait, did I mention the three private dressing room suites, decorated with Mats Gustafson and Christian Bérard illustrations?
Art was one of Christian Dior’s great passions so it’s fitting that this ‘house’ is filled with unique contemporary pieces. The ornate staircase is incredible, from the globular silver ‘Distant Cousin’ sculpture by Tony Cragg alongside it, to the curlicued railings, to the animated ‘mural’ by Oyoram, an ever-changing digital screen that brings life and energy to the space. Marc Quinn continues the colour explosion with his limited edition Lady Dior bags and small leather accessories drenched in a vibrant floral print.
And to balance the bursts of colour, of course there are several shades of signature Dior grey, another house code, here reinvented in silver leafed leather, bedazzling chrome and reflective surfaces. In this shining temple, there are mirrors wherever you look.
It’s all very mesmerising and creates the perfect backdrop for our film about transformation, identity and possibility. Come in, look around, try something on, dare to dream a little. Who do you want to be today?
Watch the film here
Concept: Navaz Batliwalla and Emma Miranda Moore
Film and photography: Emma Miranda Moore
Styling: Navaz Batliwalla/
Hair and make-up: Sjaniël at Novel Beings
Model: Antonia Haswell at Linden Staub
Music by Millie Cole
Black top from Cassie Mercantile; other items from Contemporary Wardrobe
All other items from Dior.
As above. All clothes and accessories, Dior
Location: Dior, 160-162 New Bond Street, London W1
Thanks to Rebecca Lesley, Emmet Holmes-Boyes, Callie Adams at Dior
Watch part 2 of Petit Déjeuner here
Generally positive reactions to Raf Simons’ ode to Robert Mapplethorpe last week in Florence. The revered 80s photographer is having a moment, after his retrospective exhibitions at LACMA and The Getty Center in Los Angeles (and the HBO documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures) reminded us of the breadth of his output. As with Gosha, Raf is well versed in finding ways to demonstrate his passions while keeping to his signature house codes.
So, haphazardly oversized silhouettes continue to dominate, as do the cut-and-paste, collagy motifs familiar to any Raf fan-boy (or girl). The collaboration was initiated by the Mapplethorpe camp and eagerly embraced by Raf. As well as recognisable portraits of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Robert Sherman, other recurring Mapplethorpe themes included male nudes, antique statues and elegant flower photographs.
These were artfully and respectfully placed by Raf, framed in the open neckline of a slouchy sweater, on the bib of a dungaree, or arranged in triplicate down the side of a shirt. As Raf commented to the FT (registration required), “I wanted to approach it like when you do an exhibition at a museum or a gallery, but of course the medium is so different. Which was a big challenge, because otherwise you have T-shirt with prints which is what most people do but which I don’t find very respectful.”
While the naked male member glimpsed on a shirt was seen by some as deliberately provocative, it was the flower prints that grabbed my attention. They reminded me of my Raf-for-Dior flower placement sweatshirt from SS14 along with an orchid-print silk square scarf. But to anyone unfamiliar with Mapplethorpe’s work, they just represented covetable, wearable pieces.
To accompany the show, Raf produced an exhibition of his 20-year-old archive, which helped to reinforce his recurrent themes. The oversized white shirts and layered, cropped knits, the peekaboo photo placements, they’re all Raf signatures that we know and love. Yet how perfectly they translate as canvases for Mapplethorpe’s work…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Vogue Runway; Yu Fujiwara for W magazine
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