‘’My home is at Montauroux, close to Callian, where a lucky star has allowed me, 15 years ago, to find peace and prepare a new life. About his house, though, there isn’t much I can say since I am on my way to making it over. It is simple, sturdy and noble, and its serenity matches very well the time of my life I will be embarking on in a few years’ time.’’ – these are the words Christian Dior was putting to paper in 1956, a mere number of months before his unexpected passing.
In October 1957, his family and close collaborators, among which Yves Saint Laurent – who was going to succede him at Dior -, were attending the parting ceremonies organised at his beloved house – Chateau de La Colle Noir, in Montauroux. Not much later, the property was to be sold.
The castle (whose building started in 1858) and its surrounding gardens totaling 50 hectares had been bought by Dior from a career’s worth of earnings as Paris’ most prestigious couturier. It had not been a lucrative investment, though, but one of affection and soul. Firstly, fueled by the nostalgia Dior felt for the time of his life he had in a village nearby in his youth, after the family business’ bankruptcy. And, secondly, a choice made guided by his passion for nature and botany – in the garden near the castle, Dior planting some of his favourite flowers: geranium, violets, lilies of the valley and lilies.
In this region of the South of France, famous for its climate ideal for the cultivation of flowers, Dior felt more perfumier than couturier…
As a matter of fact, the Miss Dior, Eau Fraîche, Diorissimo, Diorama and Eau Sauvage fragrances have their origins deeply linked to the beautiful story between Christian Dior and the region of Grasse.
56 years later, in 2013, the House of Dior was beginning a new, contemporary, investment, motivated by tradition and a fascination for its founder. The Chateau de La Colle Noir property was being re-bought and a painstaking process of renovation begun.
A very important part of this process was the careful research of any available resource of the period – video material, Paris Match or Connaissance des arts coverage – in order to rediscover and redraw Dior’s initial vision. The couturier had taken to himself the task of re-arranging the gardens to best accommodate the cultivation of plants and flowers for perfumery precious essences, as well as the interior design of the castle.
Today, in 2016 – on May 9th, to be precise -, Dior is preparing for the inauguration of Chateau de La Colle Noir, in its full Christian Dior splendour.
What’s more, the Parisian House has relocated the laboratory if its perfumier, François Demachy, to the castle. And, for the procurement of fragrance essences, has signed a series of partnerships with nearby estates renowned for their rose, jasmine and neroli flowers.
A going back to the beginnings, to the authentic and to the ultra-precious. Why ultra-precious? Because 1 liter of neroli essence needs the processing of one ton of orange blossom, 1 liter of jasmine oil requires approximately 700 kilos of jasmine and 1.5 liters of rose oil, a ton of rose flowers. That’s why the quantities – noble through origin and ultra-precious thanks to their scarcity – of de Grasse essences are going to be used exclusively for what Demachy calls Dior’s ‘’jus d’exception’’: J’Adore and Miss Dior.
To begin with, highlighting a new beginning at Chateau de La Colle Noir, Dior is talking about de Grasse neroli, for the new J’Adore Eau de Toilette.