DREAMADREAM

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Iconic Beauty -

After his mon­u­men­tal suc­cess in Paris, cou­turier Chris­tian Dior in­vested the last of his days from 1951 to 1957 in Le Château de La Colle Noire. Li Ying Lim re­counts her mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence when the his­toric château re­opened for one night only. It’s 5.30pm and we are driv­ing out from Hô­tel Bar­rière Le Ma­jes­tic in Cannes on the ac­count of an ex­clu­sive in­vi­ta­tion to the man­sion of ven­er­ated cou­ture con­nois­seur Chris­tian Dior. Al­most an hour’s drive from the hub­bub of Cannes is a grove of un­tainted lakes and lush val­leys, with a nar­row, wind­ing road that cuts through the moun­tain­ous ways of the Mar­itime Alps to reach Pays de Fayence, where Dior’s man­sion, the Château de La Colle Noire pre­sides, stretched out in a maze of tall pine and cy­press trees. Dusk is set­ting in ever so slowly across the Provençal land­scape of Mon­tau­roux, sum­mer is un­furl­ing, and tem­per­a­tures are get­ting warmer.

A dream-like jour­ney to the top of a peace­ful hill, the car starts on a climb that goes through rib­bons of trees flank­ing both sides of the road. Fi­nally, we reach our des­ti­na­tion, our ar­rival marked by a tall, hand­some gate­way and ivy es­paliers that scour down el­e­gantly at the front of the house. Our high-heeled feet tread the peb­bled grounds, and the tin­kling melody of a foun­tain, presided over by a nymph—de­signed by the cou­turier him­self, as we would later on dis­cover—en­velop us like the past never left this site.

CAUSE CELEBRITY

While Dior’s de­signs were met with in­cred­i­ble in­ter­na­tional suc­cess—his New Look sil­hou­ette rev­o­lu­tionised the way women dressed post-World War II—Dior was also fond of es­cap­ing the end­less chase that is fashion. Le Château de La Colle Noire was pur­chased in 1951, after which he swiftly un­der­took a two-year restora­tion process of the man­sion and the 19th-cen­tury Saint Anne Chapel next door. Dior wrote in 1956: “I think of this house now as my real home, the home to which, God will­ing, I shall one day re­tire, the home where per­haps I will one day for­get Chris­tian Dior, cou­turier, and be­come the ne­glected pri­vate in­di­vid­ual again.”

He con­tin­ues, “I am in the process of fin­ish­ing the dec­o­ra­tion of my house in Provence, at Mon­tau­roux, near Cal­lian. I can­not de­scribe this new house fully, since it is still

The re­stored Grand Sa­lon

Chris­tian Dior’s 1956 of­fice on the ground floor, decorated in the Em­pire style with a Louis XVI desk, 19th-cen­tury paint­ings, and a Charles X barom­e­ter

Dior on the up­per ter­race of his his­toric haven

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