The two items in the title are often linked. Many painters have inspired fashion designers and as all of them are somewhat artsy they often move in the same circles. One very well known designer is Mr Christian Dior. Dior was the designer that after the war came up with the New Look. He died relatively young in the late fifties, but his fashion house still exists. They have employed many very interesting designers over the years. Saint Laurent, Ferre to name a few. The now disgraced Galliano gave the House of Dior the new lease of glamour life. Their current designer is Raf Simmons.
Anyway Dior came from Normandy and the house he grew up in in Granville is now a museum. Now of course after me visiting Mr. Gaultier earlier this year, my V&A costume experiences last fall and the exhibition in GEM on fashion, about a year and a half ago. The GEM exhibition has also featured Galliano using Klimt as inspiration so there was a nice link there too, I just had to go. As it happens the current exhibition was about impressionism and the house of Dior. Perfect.
The museum/house comes with a large garden or the edge of a cliff. You can see there that Mr. Dior did not come from the most humble of beginnings (his father owned a fertiliser factory). The garden is wonderful and well attended. Because of the link with impressionist there were perfume boxes. When you open those you get a whiff of one of the Dior perfumes which have a link to a theme impressionist also had. As the Impressionists loved their gardens a lot of flowery perfumes hit our noses. In the garden there was also a “Salon du The”All you could get there was tea, coffee and a small range of cakes. We were seated on those metal chairs you associate with turn of the (19th/20th) century Paris. Seated int his wonderful garden we had the most wonderful flower cups and the prettiest (and nicest) little cakes. Absolutely heavenly.
After this little break we went into the museum. To be honest it was the least impressive of all costume exhibitions I have seen over the last year and a half. A lot had to do with lack of information, Not good enough lighting and difficulty in viewing.The English guide listed all dresses and their designers but not the grouping and why they were together. Nor the background information on the impressionist link. Just a short general description, but no translations of the French information. Not good considering it is a major tourist attraction. On a personal note, The no photography was a bit naf, but hey that is what it is.
The dresses were exquisite. I can’t ay anything less than that. SO and I ended up in a discussion on Galliano and whether he was brilliant as a designer or just folding a bunch of fabric. My opinion is he was to artsy for Dior and deviated too far from the Dior roots, but did give the house a new lease of life. He is beyond brilliant as a designer and a total nutcase (and racist as it turned out) and as such a contradiction that suits with the new lease of life he gave the house of Dior.
After that we walking into Granville which is a fishing town and a former citadel and defense area. We walked up to the Haute Ville and came across lots of little galleries with different types of art. SO then found a nice restaurant (Le Citadel) with good reviews and we decided that we’d have an early dinner there. except that we found that early and dinner do not go together in France. We got there and the sign said open at 18h. Right at that stage it was not quite four. SO convinced me that this was going to be a great place to eat and we walked back into town. We found a nice patissier to have some coffee and SO tasted their maccarons and investigated the differences between these and his. We had a lovely hour there. Then went for another walk and watched some old men play jeu de boules, just to pass the time.
We got back to the restaurant quite famished. After all since breakfast all we had had was a small cake, some maccarons and half a muesli bar. Oh yes the door was open but the kitchen would not open until 19.15. To be honest we felt cheated and let down. Another hour would also mean another hour later home and it is a 45 minute drive. The only places open were not what we wanted to we returned to our own village and had a barely cooked pizza. After all that we were so tired and disappointed that we went to bed at 20.15 and slept. At least tomorrow is market day.