DIOR PRESENTS DIOR BOOK TOTE BAG CRUISE 2019 TOILE DE JOY
In 1947, this great French textile classic adorned the walls of the founding couturier’s first boutique, called “Colifichets” – at 30 Avenue Montaigne – realized in collaboration with the decorator Victor Grandpierre, following the suggestion of the artist Christian Bérard. The chosen print portrayed a young woman on a swing, in a fantasy bucolic world.
Inspired by this toile de Jouy, Maria Grazia Chiuri then modernized it for the Cruise 2019 collection by replacing the traditional pastoral scenes with a series of wild animals, all initially drawn out by hand in pen and ink. They appear embroidered or printed on different garments and accessories, such as the Dior Book Tote, which is made in Italy.
The first step in its story starts in a traditional Italian family-run atelier with the embroidery. Each piece alone requires more than one million six hundred thousand stitches, over a space of forty-two hours.
After having entirely embroidered a beige background, the sewing machines, under the watchful eye of the artisans, begin to produce the motifs. First comes the foliage and the tree trunks in blue, then the forms of the four key protagonists: the tiger, monkey, lion and serpent. As the bobbins of thread are depleted, the smallest details begin to emerge. One can now distinguish the mischievous look of the monkey hanging from a branch, the feline muscularity of the tiger, and the fierce duel between a snake and a lion.
These animal scenes required a lot of preparatory research work; it was necessary to develop stitching techniques to produce the unique optical effects and bring out the most precise elements.
“I brought the decorative scenes up to date and made them more dynamic and surprising by representing animals considered wild and exotic to the Western imagination, which make my canvases almost acts of surreal transgression when compared to the traditional ones. You discover this only by really paying attention or observing the fabric very closely,” explains Maria Grazia Chiuri. Finally, on the front of the bag, the legend “Christian Dior” is embroidered in beige with “Paris” in black.
The five individual Dior Book Tote pieces are then inspected and quality controlled before being sent to the House’s leatherworking ateliers, located in the Florentine hinterland, for the assembly stage.
The artisan begins by mounting the two handles sewn with reinforcements on the front and back panels of the bag. Their length allows for hand or shoulder wear, and their rounded shape guarantees total comfort. A discreet signature, the legend “Christian Dior Paris, Made in Italy”, embossed with gold ribbon on smooth calfskin, is placed inside. Then, using a sewing machine, the artisan assemble the bag’s lateral and central parts. The Dior Book Tote is now ready to take its place as a wardrobe essential.
© SOPHIE CARRE