Dior celebrates the lily of the valley with a new collection of homewares

Dior celebrates the lily of the valley with a new collection of homewares

Paris Tradition has it that on May 1, Dior presents its employees with a sprig of lily of the valley — a French custom said to date back to the 16th century, symbolizing good luck and happiness.

This year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Labor Day custom has been suspended as most Dior employees continue to work from home. Instead, the French fashion house is celebrating the flower that founder Christian Dior turned into the brand's signature, with a new collection of homewares designed by Cordelia de Castellane.

Currently holed up in her country estate about 45 minutes from Paris, the artistic director of Dior Maison has revisited the symbolic idea of ​​home through a selection of ceramic dishes, hand-painted or engraved glasses, ornaments and decorative vessels in blown glass.

“It was one of Monsieur Dior’s favorite flowers,” de Castellane said. “He was very superstitious, so the lily of the valley was his good luck charm.”

In addition to giving the flower to his seamstresses and clients on May 1, the public holiday equivalent to Labor Day in France, Dior insisted that his florist grow the flower for him year-round in a greenhouse. This way, he can always wear a sprig in his buttonhole, or sew a flower into the hem of clothes at his fashion shows.

Dior invoked its signature scent with his third fragrance, Diorissimo, which he launched in 1956, and often referenced lily of the valley in his creations, such as the Muguet dress he presented in 1957. This particular design was the inspiration for a white embroidered gasser dress. Directed by Kirsten Dunst at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016.

Kirsten Dunst at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Joel Ryan/AP/Shutterstock

For de Castellane, the flower holds special significance for another reason. “It's very personal, but my father was born on May 1,” she explained.

Although Dior had served porcelain with a lily-of-the-valley pattern since the 1950s, it felt the design was ripe for a refresh. After revisiting the concept last year with a range of ornately decorated pottery, de Castellane has now introduced a Limoges porcelain dinner set with a delicate green and white design.

New ceramic dinnerware from Dior Maison features a lily of the valley motif.

New ceramic dinnerware from Dior Maison features a lily of the valley motif.

Photography by Ines Manai/Courtesy of Dior

“To give a more modern and contemporary feel, I reworked the lily-of-the-valley designs with pencil-like strokes, reminiscent of Toile de Jouy,” she said, noting another Dior interior design reference.

She said the paintings can be used in a classic, rustic setting, but also work with a simpler background. “It was really designed to fit a variety of interior designs,” De Castellane said.

The collection is available on Dior's e-commerce website, and will be sold in Dior Maison stores worldwide, including the store unveiled in Miami's Design District late last year as part of a broader campaign in the US market. “The vast majority of our customers are American. They are long-time supporters of Dior Maison,” de Castellane noted.

Muguet dress from Christian Dior's Spring/Summer 1957 Haute Couture collection.

Muguet dress from Christian Dior's Spring/Summer 1957 Haute Couture collection.

Photography by Aziz Hamani/Courtesy of Dior

The designer said her favorite flowers also include peonies, sweet peas and parrot tulips, but she plans to celebrate lily of the valley for the rest of this week.

“I'm very lucky to have a forest next to my house, and lily of the valley grows there, so I started cutting some of it down. I have porcelain, so I'm going to make a nice table with lily of the valley and post it on May 1st,” she said.

    (Tags for translation)Cannes Film Festival

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