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25 Sep

‘Dior J’Adore!’ Exhibit Dives Into the House’s Heritage: EXCLUSIVE

PARIS — Dior’s blockbuster J’Adore women’s fragrance is the star of a recent sweeping exhibition that mines the brand’s heritage. The show opens to the general public on the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris on Wednesday.

“Dior J’Adore!” is a celebration of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned house’s bestselling women’s scent, which was launched in 1999, and a take a look at its centricity at Dior — not least as a consequence of its link to the colour gold and to artists, mainstays for the brand still today.

The fragrance’s name got here from the expression of adoration — “j’adore” — that Christian Dior himself regularly used, as did John Galliano, the designer, more recently in the home’s history.

The exhibition tells the story of J’Adore in an immersive, multisensory manner, pulling together Dior’s history, which began with each fashion and fragrance in 1947. It’s a tale of many parts – spanning a long time and connected by a golden thread. This includes the founding designer’s love of flowers and the most recent creation in J’Adore’s portfolio, called L’Or de J’Adore, which was conceived by Francis Kurkdjian, Dior’s perfume creation director.

“L’Or de J’Adore is all in regards to the idea of gold,” Kurkdjian said, explaining he was excited about the technique of obtaining pure gold.

The exhibit begins on the Beaux-Arts’ 13 Quai Malaquais entrance, after which visitors climb stairs awash with the colour gold. They then walk through a golden corridor, paying homage to the necklace encircling J’Adore’s bottle, over which the word “Dior” is emblazoned.

“That is the primary time that we explore in depth, intimately, one of the necessary facets of our heritage — gold,” explained a Dior spokesperson, adding that gold links Dior’s entire story, from J’Adore to the home’s fashion, leather goods and jewellery. “Gold shouldn’t be a color, it’s really a signature style element of Dior. And, after all, J’Adore is an ideal symbol of that.”

Jean Cocteau famously said Dior’s “magic name includes ‘God’ and ‘gold.’”

The exhibit also features the connection of Dior and artists through the prism of J’Adore, Kurkdjian said.

“People fairly often forget that before Dior was a couturier, he was a gallerist,” said the perfumer, highlighting Dior was only a couturier during his last decade. “Before that, Christian Dior had mainly three lives: One as a student who desired to be an architect, the second as a gallerist. And the third one is Christian Dior as a gardener.

“Mainly, with the couture brand, it’s a little bit of all the things,” said Kurkdjian.

On the exhibit’s start is a portrait of Dior, by Yan Pei-Ming, from 2009. The spokesman homed in on the designer’s gaze within the painting, describing it as “kind” and “avant garde.”

Next is a room called “Création d’une icône,” or “Creation of an Icon,” containing Belle-Époque inspirations on the right-hand side. Amongst them is a photograph of Madeleine Dior, Christian Dior’s mother, in her 20s wearing layers of pearls, in addition to an extended, gold-colored necklace that appeared in Galliano’s first fashion show for the home. Each pieces of jewellery helped encourage J’Adore’s original bottle design by Hervé Van der Straeten. It features a baudruchage technique, involving wrapped golden threads, paying homage to a necklace.

There are various preliminary sketches and mock-ups of J’Adore. Miniatures of archival Dior dresses stand here.

The left-hand side has more objects linked to Dior’s Recent Look. There are many Dior amphora-shaped bottles, which were near the center of Christian Dior, who used that flacon form for Miss Dior, and which ultimately inspired J’Adore’s bottle.

“It’s at all times the identical line — fluid, very feminine — nothing square,” said the spokesman, adding the form of J’Adore’s bottle is more like a drop of fragrance.

There are more miniature fashion looks, in addition to golden jewelry, leather goods and shoes. Dior’s talismans, reminiscent of a golden star, lily of the valley and a little bit owl charm, are among the many 153 items on display within the room.

After, certainly one of Katerina Jebb’s pieces could be viewed — a video showing her scanning Dior dresses and perfume bottles.

There’s then a room where white paper cutout flowers function a screen for photos and videos recounting some key parts of Christian Dior’s life.

“It’s a three-minute travel through time,” said the spokesman, referring to pictures like that of Villa Les Rhumbs, in Granville, France, Dior’s childhood home, and of his mother’s flower catalog.

“Step-by-step, we’re traveling in the various gardens of Dior,” the spokesman said. That features the south of France, to the garden of La Colle Noire, Dior’s country retreat, and elsewhere within the region, where his namesake brand now works with producers to grow fragrance flowers, that are central to J’Adore.

In the middle of this room guests can smell 4 accords of J’Adore. Over time the scent has been reinterpreted by various perfumers, including Calice Becker, François Demachy and Kurkdjian.

At Dior, gold is utilized in either a straightforward way, like as a detail, or in a more opulent and indulgent manner.

A room with 108 screens shows probably the most emblematic J’Adore campaigns with Charlize Theron (remember the Château de Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors spot) and Carmen Kass (think wading in liquid gold). Many were lensed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, but additionally Jean-Jacques Annaud, Romain Gavras, Craig McDean and Peter Lindbergh.

Round the corner is a gold-drenched room — literally, with liquid cascading down the partitions — and an enormous L’Or de J’Adore bottle on a pedestal in the center. The scent of the brand new fragrance wafts around here.

The exhibit continues one flight up — past a Fred Eerdekens sculpture featuring anagrams, lights and shadows ­— where there is a big wall spangled with 213 miniatures of Dior dresses, leather goods, accessories and J’Adore bottles in various shades of gold.

Gracing the middle of this space is a huge sculpture by Jean-Michel Othoniel, which looks like an open flower made from beads.

“What I like about this project is with the ability to reduce a monumental sculpture all the way down to an intimate level,” he said. “Once I find myself alone, drawing around watercolors, it’s a moment once I put my emotions down on paper. Ultimately, the materials I utilized in this project are very classic: bronze, gold, crystal… materials that also must be reinvented.

“I feel that art and fragrance complement one another,” he continued. “Firstly, I feel that a perfumer’s approach is each sensitive and artistic. They create universes where you’ll be able to project yourself, see yourself, marvel at. I draw inspiration from the perfumer’s vision, it’s an artist-to-artist relationship, how two people create a murals. It’s slightly difficult to characterize this sculpture in only one word since it is stuffed with facets. It’s filled with surprises, like a fragrance.”

One other room features three limited-edition bottles, that are reinterpretations of the J’Adore flacon by Othoniel, Victoire de Castellane and India Mahdavi.

There are photographs by Yuriko Takagi featuring a fragrance and flowers.

Highlighting Dior’s savoir-faire is the room with partitions decorated with images of the brand’s fragrance bottles, reminiscent of Jules, Poison, Eau Fraîche, Eau Sauvage, Dior Homme, Dune and Fahrenheit, in white, inside white frames. Here, Dior artisans will show visitors the baudruchage technique.

Nearby is an undulating, immersive video installation by artist Refik Anadol, who consulted with Kurkdjian.

“For this collaboration, the method starts with imagination. Inspired from the bottle design, finding a recent language, but without losing the heritage. It’s a ravishing challenge, which is the elemental of a scent after which shape-shifting them right into a recent sculpture,” said Anadol.

He and Kurkdjian considered how the L’Or de J’Adore fragrance formula may very well be become digital artwork.

“Something real,” said Kurkdjian. “I wanted that to be meaningful.”

He shared with Anadol data related to components, ingredients numbers and weights that translated into numbers.

“I fed him all of that, after which he began to play with those numbers, along with his computers to create the digital piece of art,” said Kurkdjian. “The remainder is about his magic.”

“Once I met Francis, it was an incredible, inspiring dialog,” Anadol continued. “It was so powerful to assume that his art is definitely represented by numbers. The formula, the scent, I mean those numbers, they’ve a meaning after they come together.”

The last room of the exhibit, called “Rêve Couture,” or “Couture Dream,” is an exhibition of 23 Dior dresses throughout the ages — including golden couture creations by Dior the designer, Galliano, Gianfranco Ferré, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Marc Bohan, in addition to the J’Adore campaign dresses.

“There’s a celebration spirit — a golden party by Dior,” said the spokesman. “It’s a Dior ball.”

“Dior J’Adore!” will run through Oct. 8. It’s to be open each day, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CET. Reservations for the exhibition could be made through dior.com.

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