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.
“Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”
There are lots of tributes to Bill Cunningham flying around right now, including this one in the New York Times*. If you’ve never seen the film, now would be a good time to do so.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: New York Times
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