Dior, the 30 Montaigne experiment in Paris

Welcome to the Dior galaxy. At the historic location that saw its birth, the fashion house inaugurates a new kind of place combining an enlarged shop, a museum gallery, a restaurant, a café, lush gardens and a private suite.

The historic address of the Christian Dior House, founded in 1946, has reopened after more than two years of pharaonic work. «The Christian Dior house began with three workshops, located in the attic of 30 Avenue Montaigne: a tiny studio, a presentation room, a cabin, a management office and six small fitting rooms», says Christian Dior in his memoirs. The designer would no doubt be amazed and happy to discover the 10,000 m2, sublimely designed and fitted out, entirely dedicated to his luxury brand that was born three quarters of a century ago. More than just a boutique, Dior invites its clientele to live a 360-degree experience by unveiling its universe: a gallery, private rooms, a suite, lush gardens, a restaurant, a café and a pastry shop. At 30 avenue Montaigne, the star, the symbol of luck to which Christian Dior was so attached, is everywhere. Woven on a model from the women’s ready-to-wear collection, delicately embroidered on a Book Tote bag – the house’s best-selling bag declined each season – or in constellation on a jewel from the Rose des Vents collection. It even decorates the original coaster and the dishes that can be found on the tables of the first Dior tearoom and the restaurant whose menu was entrusted to Jean Imbert, the chef who recently arrived in the kitchens of Plaza Athénée, the palace a stone’s throw from the 30 Montaigne that Monsieur Dior particularly liked. Even before the presentation in this place of the first collection, in February 1947 and the emergence of the New Look, the star is at Dior a sign of destiny. On April 18, 1946, eight months before the opening of the house at 30 avenue Montaigne (in December 1946), Christian Dior walked up the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré and hit a metal star, a part of a carriage wheel. The very superstitious designer, who has a meeting the next day with industrialist Marcel Boussac to finance his adventure, sees the sign of his future good fortune. This star, preserved by the house, is also exhibited in Dior Gallery.


30 Av. Montaigne, 75008 Paris
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The boutique section includes all the worlds of the brand: women’s and men’s fashion, beauty, home, watchmaking and jewellery. We note the creations with the assertive femininity designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, some of which are exclusive with a personalization service offered for bags and some carefully selected clothes. A precious setting welcomes the collections of jewels and timepieces designed by Victoire de Castellane, who, upon his arrival at Dior, changed the codes of the Place Vendôme. The human space gives the full measure of the success of the collections designed by Kim Jones who reinvented the masculine silhouette of the brand. The Dior Maison universe values the French art de vivre and collaborations with designers and interior architects like Pierre Yovanovitch who signs original objects. All adjoin one of the three gardens designed by the landscaper Peter Wirtz. Not to mention the contemporary boudoir dedicated to beauty and perfumes whose walls are punctuated by roses carved in the material. Behind a hidden door, a treatment and make-up booth invites you to relax. The codes of the house have been reinterpreted without ever pouring into the too “demonstrative” thanks to the talent of Peter Marino, the star architect who knows perfectly the world of luxury and is a faithful of the house. He was entrusted with his third transformation of Dior’s legendary address. «This project is different from the others, of course, because it was the first Christian Dior boutique to present a historic façade of the eighteenth century», explains the architect. The idea was to open the spaces, to bring in the light and nature so dear to Christian Dior. The photos of him in the garden of his house in Granville always struck me; he seemed so happy. I really wanted to create a winter garden full of flowers on the ground floor.» Many works underline once again the house’s attachment to the arts and appear as a tribute to the life of Monsieur Dior who was a gallery owner before embracing the career of designer. Isa Genzken’s Rose II animates the main staircase, Paul Cocksedge’s La Bourrasque overlooking the rotunda, reinterpreting the idea of foliage in an abstract way. In the final touch, the carefully chosen furniture is notably signed by Joaquim Tenreiro, Hans Olsen, Gio Ponti, Ado Chale, Claude Lalanne, Delos & Ubiedo, Gabriella Crespi. The vintage pieces respond to contemporary creations, an 18th century sofa to American pieces or furniture from the 1940s and 1950s of Joseph-André Motte. But this mythical address wishes to become above all a place of life. In addition to the haute couture workshops that have returned to the building, a new haute joaillerie workshop has just settled there. This experience is also based on an ultimate luxury: the first and only Dior Suite, an exclusive apartment that “gives the keys” to its occupants all over 30 Montaigne, with private meals and visits possible at any time, even at night, to home workshops. It is murmured that it is already reserved by ultra-loyal customers! The address at 30 Avenue Montaigne is now as historic as it is unusual.

Dior Gallery, at the heart of creation

If Monsieur Dior’s passions, such as gardening, fashion, French lifestyle, flowers and perfumes, refined cuisine with sweet treats and savoury recipes, are highlighted in the shop, you have to cross the entrance of the Dior Gallery to get to know his life and the success story of the house he founded. The visit of this 2,000 m2 space, which pays tribute to its activity as a gallery owner before entering fashion, is essential. First aesthetic shock: an exceptional collection of more than 1,800 miniaturized objects from the Dior universe designed in 3D printing, all in shades of color enliven the walls of its staircase. The place benefits from the daring and demanding scenography of Nathalie Crinière who went so far as to reconstitute Monsieur Dior’s office and the original fitting room of the couture house. It is no less than thirteen rooms animated with dresses, accessories, films, archive images and photos that punctuate this walk holding the fairy tale. The public plunges into the life of the designer, in the boiling of the workshops and the parades, discovers the Dior look, the artistic affinities of the house, the women-flowers with exceptional models signed by Monsieur Dior and after him Yves Saint Laurent, the dresses of stars such as the navy blue worn by Princess Diana at the Met Gala in 1996, the influences of travel and the designers who were and are currently guarantors of the Dior stylistic signature, Yves Saint Laurent, Raf Simons, John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri. We must dwell on an incredible cabinet of curiosities in which are meticulously displayed, in windows, accessories and heritage objects including the bottle of Miss Dior taking the shape of the Maltese bichon of the couturier, Bobby, created especially for the Christmas celebrations of 1952. The tour ends with the magnificent ballroom, set in majesty by fairy light games. The journey is stunning. A cream in the Café Dior that welcomes the visitor at the end of the race… the time to return to reality.

Rencontre avec Pietro Beccari,
Président directeur général de Christian Dior Couture

Why was it important to renovate Dior’s mythical address?

30 Montaigne is the story of Dior. That’s where it all started, it’s a symbolic place. Combined with this new architecture in the shop, this historic building reminds us of our history, the aesthetic power of Monsieur Dior, his innovative vision and his courage to finance his brand at the end of the war.

What are we living at 30 Montaigne?

Culture is an integral part of true luxury brands; we have created a complete, 360-degree experience. Today, customers are no longer going to buy a single product, they are going to get closer to a brand, its history, its values. Monsieur Dior is present everywhere at 30 Montaigne: no other brand can reproduce this experience. This place gives us a unique character that allows us to position ourselves beyond the luxury as we know it today. There’s a Dior before, and a Dior after 30 Montaigne.

What were the difficulties encountered during the project?

One of my first strong ideas was a little crazy to use this historic building – or rather these historic buildings, since there are six of them – which was occupied by offices essentially. The shop occupied one floor. I wanted to create something that could give us a major strategic advantage, that would be difficult to reproduce, a fantastic point of uniqueness for the Dior brand in Paris. Close the largest boutique in the world for two years, transfer 600 employees including the creative studios that were there since 1947 to spread them in 29 different locations in Paris, find the new offices on the Champs-ElyséesElysées, finally spraying the 13,600 m2 behind the façade of Avenue Montaigne, was more than a challenge. And I have to admit, some nights I haven’t slept. And I have to admit, some nights I haven’t slept. Especially in those few months when, in order to excavate the second basement, the buildings were only standing on pole microphones…

Why did you choose chef Jean Imbert for the restaurant and pastry shop?

He is young, fun and energetic. Moreover, of all the projects presented, it is Jean’s that comes closest to the spirit of Monsieur Dior. He had the idea to take some of the recipes of a designer, a real gourmet who wrote his own cookbook. I believe in the power of energy, people and teams. I always say, “Don’t think big, think big!”

Doesn’t this project seem a bit paradoxical at a time when the luxury industry is working on e-commerce and metavers?

The 30 Montaigne is not at odds with the digital experience, far from it; rather it serves as a link between the physical and the virtual world through technological innovations. It’s a seamless experience: a customer can prepare whatever they want to buy, at home or in their hotel room, and then go to the store to try their items. There is no cash register: he can pay anywhere in the store at any time. We have this power of authenticity, and I think that when it comes to luxury, experience counts more than anything. Luxury is the emotion that a product or experience gives you. Only this type of experience can generate that emotion. We
So we want to bring them together in one place and make sure that our visitors can discover this Dior universe in one day.

By Fabrice Léonard - Published the

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