Dior Brings Couture Craftsmanship to Watchmaking

Eliza Scarborough   |   01 - 06 - 2018

 

Christian Dior’s childhood memories are held with strong emotions linked to the world of couture. In the heart of the family villa, perched on the crest of a Normandy cliff, the place that the young Christian prefers above all others is the linen room, where he watches in silence as the seamstresses sew and embroider with such skill.  Chain stitch, scalloped eyelet, bobbin lace, stem stitch, satin stitch, rattail beading, Beauvais knot: the deft hands stitch and re-stitch under the fascinated eye of the child who plays with the silk threads and recuperates the bobbins. In his memoires written in 1957, the Master records his cherished memories in detail:

 

“Dusk was drawing to a close, night was falling and I lingered there, forgetful of my books and my brother, looking at the women deftly wielding their needles around the oil lamp.”

 

This love of couture continues into his adolescence. Whilst his parents are preparing him to become an ambassador, the young Norman prefers to design – and sew if need be – the fancy dress costumes for his brothers, sisters and cousins for the masked balls at the Granville casino. In the 1930s, during a retreat far from Paris, Christian Dior discovers the great pleasure of creating something for himself. He learns the art of tapestry making and becomes passionate about it. This initial contact with arts and crafts leaves him with a vital need that he resumes by saying “I wanted to make something with my hands”. This is how, from needle to thread, from one thing leading to another, the future couturier becomes a fashion designer. His friend, Jean Ozenne proposes to sell his sketches and one evening he returns triumphant.

 

“He had sold some of my drawing for 120 francs. The most money I had really earned with my own hands! I was amazed. Those 120 francs brought to me by watchful and faithful friendship were like the first rays of sun after a long night. They decided my future and they still sparkle in my life”.

 

 

 

 

When he founded a Maison in his own name in 1947, Christian Dior wanted it to be small and confidential: a Maison, where people work in accordance with the traditions of couture, where the heads of the ateliers and their seamstresses apply themselves to rediscovering or inventing the appropriate techniques for the models they are entrusted with.

 

“I considered that in order for the Maison to validate itself, it must resemble – at a time when everything was moving towards machines – more an artisan’s laboratory than a model factory.”

 

Although the great Couturier becomes famous by proposing a new silhouette to the world, his legend is to be immortalized thanks to a unique vision that glorifies the golden hands of craftspeople. Even if that requires reviving long-forgotten traditions.

 

 

“True luxury demands true materials and true craftsmanship,” proclaimed Christian Dior. “It is only meaningful when rooted in authentic traditions.”

 

Dior Horlogerie has wished to perpetuate those traditions by offering watchmaking craftsmen the right environment for them to express their know-how in harmony with the Maison’s very essence. This year, the aesthetic and technical signature of the Dior Grand Bal collection, the “Dior Inversé” calibre and its oscillating weight placed on top of the dial, develop some unprecedented feats. Spectacular and elegant, a new Dior Grand Bal Plume displays a cluster of feathers entirely covered in gold. For the occasion, the craftsmen have rolled out a wealth of talents and engineering skills in order to preserve all the organic softness and lightness of the natural duvet on this sunny panache.

 

Another Dior Grand Bal Plume model extravagantly dispenses the mysterious shades of a magical night by turning the dark surface of the dial embellished with gold thread into a deep and powerful velvety black. Whilst diamond trimming underlines in one sparkling stroke the gracefulness of the wild feathers blossoming on the functional weight.

 

One of Christian Dior’s favourite colours, red diffuses its sensual energy all over the dial and the alligator strap of the new Dior Grand Bal Résille. The oscillating weight reveals an exquisite and sparkling meshwork of diamonds echoing the sensuous fishnet on audacious underwear.

 

 

In the 1930s, during a retreat far from Paris, Christian Dior discovers the great pleasure of creating something for himself. He learns the art of tapestry making and becomes passionate about it. This initial contact with arts and crafts leaves him with a vital need that he resumes by saying: “I wanted to make something with my hands”. This is how, from needle to thread, from one thing leading to another, the future couturier becomes a fashion designer. His friend, Jean Ozenne proposes to sell his sketches and one evening he returns triumphant.

 

“He had sold some of my drawing for 120 francs. The most money I had really earned with my own hands! I was amazed. Those 120 francs brought to me by watchful and faithful friendship were like the first rays of sun after a long night. They decided my future and they still sparkle in my life”.

 

 

DIOR GRAND BAL PLUME

The Dior Grand Bal collection is now enriched with a  new model in 36m, combining the delicacy of a feather with the preciousness of gold. The airy light feathers are covered in gold then set on the oscillating weight next to the diamonds. They evolve in harmony with a sun-brushed golden dial. The Dior Grand Bal Plume is equipped with an automatic movement, exclusive to the Maison Dior, the “Dior Invesé 11 ½’ caliber, featuring a patented and functional oscillating weight recreating the swirl of a ball gown. Combining feather-making know-how, specific to Haute Couture, with watchmaking technology, this model is elaborated with great delicacy, like a feathered petticoat embroidered with gold and diamonds. The Dior Grand Bal Plume is a limited edition of 88 pieces.

 

DIOR GRAND BAL PLUME NOIRE

The Dior Grand Bal Plume Noire collection presents with a new 36mm model, combining the delicacy of a feather with the elegance of black. The black feathers are set on the oscillating weight next to the diamonds. They evolve in harmony with a sun-brushed back dial set with yellow gold threads. The Dior Grand Bal Plume is equipped with an automatic movement, exclusive to the Maison Dior, the “Dior Inversé 11 ½” caliber, featuring a patented and functional oscillating weight recreating the swirl of a ball gown. Combining feather-making know-how specific to Haute Couture, with watchmaking technology, this model is elaborated with great delicacy, like a feathered petticoat embroidered with diamonds. The watch is a limited edition of just 88 pieces.

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