Un­der the si­gn of Ch­ri­stian

AD (Italy) - - English Texts - land­sca­pe de­si­gn PHI­LIP­PE DELIAU – words ELE­NA DALLORSO pho­tos MAS­SI­MO LISTRI

p.140

NOT FAR FROM GRASSE, MON­SIEUR DIOR PURCHASED A LAR­GE ESTA­TE TO MA­KE IT INTO AN OASIS OF PEACE. HE NE­VER SAW THE FINISHED PRO­JECT. TO­DAY, CAREFULLY RE­STO­RED, CH­TEAU DE LA COL­LE NOI­RE LIVES ON AS A PLA­CE OF MEMORY AND CREATION.

«My hou­se is in Mon­tau­roux, near Cal­lian, whe­re I had the good luck fif­teen years ago to find tran­qui­li­ty, to pre­pa­re for a new exi­sten­ce. I can’t tell you mu­ch about this hou­se, I am still buil­ding it. It is sim­ple, solid, noble, and its serenity is perfect for the pe­riod of li­fe I’ll be going th­rou­gh in a few years», Ch­ri­stian Dior wro­te in 1956. But it was not to be. He ne­ver saw the com­ple­tion of his beau­ti­ful Châ­teau de La Col­le Noi­re, purchased in 1951, because he pas­sed away ju­st one year af­ter wri­ting tho­se li­nes. Du­ring the six years of sum­mer re­si­den­cy the­re, he un­der­took ma­jor re­no­va­tions, su­per­vi­sed by the Neo-Pro­ve­nçal ar­chi­tect An­dré Svet­chi­ne. The rural com­plex was enor­mous, and in bad con­di­tion: built in 1858 by the law­yer Hen­ri-Em­ma­nuel Poul­le, it pas­sed from ow­ner to ow­ner un­til the ar­ri­val of Dior, in lo­ve wi­th the lu­mi­nous Pro­ven­ce land­sca­pe sin­ce the years of World War II, when he li­ved in near­by Cal­lian. He asked Svet­chi­ne to tran­sform cel­lars and hay­lof­ts into eclec­tic living spa­ces: from 18th-cen­tu­ry to ro­man­tic. The Grand Sa­lon Dior mi­xes Neo-Louis XVI to­nes wi­th the neo­clas­si­cal ta­ste of the 1950s. The pan­try di­splays oy­ster forks, glass jars for con­ser­ves along­si­de cham­pa­gne flû­tes and co­gnac snif­ters. One thing re­mains the sa­me: the cha­pel of Saint-Bar­thé­le­my, which Dior re­sto­red and do­na­ted to the to­wn of Mon­tau­roux. His lo­ve for the pla­ce can be seen in eve­ry de­tail, from the fur­ni­shings to the gar­den whe­re Dior found re­fu­ge, in­vi­ting ar­ti­st friends and set­ting off on ex­cur­sions in his Au­stin Prin­cess. Af­ter 1957 Châ­teau de La Col­le Noi­re again chan­ged hands, lea­ding to a sta­te of aban­don and de­cay un­til 2013, when the vil­la was purchased by Mai­son de Par­fum Dior, laun­ching a ma­jor re­sto­ra­tion in 2015. Mu­ch has been con­ser­ved as it

«THIS HOU­SE IS SIM­PLE, SOLID, NOBLE, AND ITS SERENITY IS PERFECT»

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