When Christian Dior wasn’t designing dresses, he liked to escape to the countryside – especially to Provence, where he took refuge during the Occupation.
Later, he acquired a stunning getaway near Grasse, La Château de la Colle Noire (photographed above). It was there Dior became truly steeped in the fragrant world. The abundant flowers of Grasse are said to have inspired Dior to create his debut fragrances, Miss Dior, Eau Fraîche, Diorama, Diorissimo and Eau Sauvage. Dior restored not only the Château, but the fertility of the surrounding fields so that he could produce sizeable harvests of the flowers used in perfume-making.
After his death, the villa was sold – and the link with the area severed. But quietly, excitingly, it emerges that the House of Dior has purchased Christian Dior‘s home, restoring it to its former glory. It’s not known yet exactly what opportunities there’ll be for perfume-lovers to visit the house, but it firmly re-estabishes Dior’s link with Grasse. And continuing Christian Dior’s Provençale dream, native Grasse perfumer François Demachy is now based in the area, with his laboratory established there.
Our forthcoming edition of The Scented Letter (which will be downloadable later this week) focuses on Provence and its perfumers – and this renovation of one of Grasse’s most significant landmarks simply adds to the region’s rich and fragrant tapestry…