Born: January 21, 1905, Granville, France
Died: October 23, 1957, Montecatini Terme
Education: Sciences Po
Lived: 220, Route Départementale 562, 83440 Montauroux, France (43.59805, 6.78831)
Buried: Cimetière de Callian, Callian, Departement du Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Siblings: Catherine Dior, Raymond Dior, Jacqueline Dior, Bernard Dior
Parents: Maurice Dior, Isabelle Cardamone
Christian Dior’s love for this land was born in the 1930s, when his family, ruined by the stock market crash, had to leave Normandy to take refuge in the South. Dior’s father acquired a modest home, Les Nayssées, in Callian, and it is here that his son discovered himself "peasant in the heart".
Address: 220, Route Départementale 562, 83440 Montauroux, France (43.59805, 6.78831)
Type: Private Property
Phone: +33 4 94 39 01 40
The château de La Colle Noire is a residence located at the entrance of the Pays de Fayence, on the border of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. It is built on a promontory overlooking the plain of Montauroux. The castle is surrounded by a park with a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Anne. The ensemble dates back to the mid-XIX century and was completely redesigned by Christian Dior from 1950. It is property of Parfums Christian Dior since 2013. From the XV century to the beginning of the XIX century, the site is described in various ways: La Colle Narbonne, La Colle, La Colle Noire, logis de La Colle. However, it was from 1826 that the domain really took shape, when Henri-Emmanuel Poulle (1792-1877), lawyer, first president of the Court of Aix-en-Provence and deputy of the Var, from an old family of Montauroux, becomes owner of the "domaine de La Colle", which by extension will take the name of the neighboring hamlet to become the "domaine de La Colle Noire". Beginning in 1839, Henri-Emmanuel Poulle created a relais des Postes on the estate, the building of which would probably serve as a base for the future castle. Over time, through various acquisitions, the estate reaches an area of more than 100 hectares, becoming a vast agricultural operation, composed mainly of plowing, pastures, vines and muriers. It was in 1858, at the age of 66, that Henri-Emmanuel Poulle decided to build a residence there for his retirement. The construction will last three years, from 1858 to 1861. The facade with its two emblematic towers, dominating the valley, dates from that time. It was also during this period that Poulle had a chapel dedicated to Sainte Anne, referring to her daughter Anne-Victoire. Henri-Emmanuel Poulle also built a chapel dedicated to Saint Barthélémy in the village of Montauroux, near the parish church. Due to the loss of his title, it could not be sold as a national asset during the French Revolution and was removed from vandalism during the revolution of 1870. It passed into the patrimony of Poulle and was transmitted to Christian Dior who offered it to the commune of Montauroux in 1953. Built in 1634 by the Pénitents Blancs (White Penitents,) it still presents today a decor painted on wood of which are adorned the walls as well as the vault. At the death of Henri-Emmanuel Poulle in 1877, the property passed to his daughter, Anne-Victoire (1827-1894), married to Félix Reibaud, maître des Postes du secteur. Anne-Victoire, very pious, obtained from the Bishop of Frejus that the priest of Montauroux could say mass at the Sainte-Anne chapel on the property every Sunday except at Christmas, Easter and other feasts. The inhabitants of the neighborhood then took the habit of coming to hear Mass at La Colle Noire. The Sainte-Anne chapel is still consecrated today. On the death of Anne-Victoire in 1894, his son Paul Félix Honoré Reibaud inherited the estate of La Colle Noire. Head of office at the Ministry of Justice in Paris, he had no interest in this property. Abandoned, the property was sold to a businessman named Fayolle, whose widow resold the estate in 1921 to Pierre Grosselin. On October 25, 1950, the property, with an area of 50 hectares, made up of a noble house, agricultural buildings and land cultivated mainly in vines and flowers, was bought by Christian Dior.
Who: Christian Dior (January 21, 1905 – October 24, 1957)
Christian Dior acquires the property in a region that he knew well. His father, widow since 1931, lived in the plain of Callian with his young sister Catherine, inspiration of the perfume Miss Dior. "And then Miss Dior was born. It was born from those evenings of Provence crossed by fireflies where the green jasmine serves as a counter-song to the melody of the night and the earth". It is therefore in this Provence dear to his heart, in the inaccessible Var inland that Christian Dior will develop his house, far from Paris and 30 Avenue Montaigne, home of his couture house. "It is in Montauroux, near Callian, where a good star had allowed me, fifteen years ago, to find tranquility and prepare a new existence. Of the house, I cannot say much because I'm doing it. It is simple, solid and noble, and its serenity suits the period of life that I will have to tackle in a few years. That house, I wish it to be my real home. Where - if God lends me long life - I can retire. Where - if I have the means - I can close the loop of my existence and find, under another climate, the closed garden that protected my childhood. That is where I can finally live quiet, forgetting Christian Dior to just become Christian again. It is at Montauroux that I write these last lines." It was to the Russian architect André Svétchine that Christian Dior entrusted the restoration and renovation of La Colle Noire from 1955 onwards. His friends Raymonde Zehnacker in Mougins and then Marc Chagall in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and in Saint-Paul-de-Vence also used the same architect, then specialized in the transformation of "rural dwellings, neither simple farms nor real castles". The stone was laid bare, the perspectives restored and enlarged, the accesses rethought with the transformation of the service wing into a main entrance. Planted with cypresses, this walkway leads to the hexagonal entrance hall, a sort of atrium designed by Christian Dior himself, where the Provençal calade floor draws a pattern of wind-colored roses, dear to his childhood in Normandy. To this facade located in the North responds the South facade, asymmetric, in the style of Provençal villa of the years 1940-50. It is reflected in a 45 meter long water mirror, also designed by Christian Dior, showing a contrast between the sinuosity of the landscape and the rigor of its straight lines. Completely redesigned, the distribution includes a large staircase with zenital lighting leading to "rooms to give" to friends of passage, a succession of reception rooms, including the large living room measuring more than 18 meters opening onto a terrace overlooking the mirror of water. Combining vintage furniture, comfort from the 1950s, references to Provence or England, "it is an art of living that Christian Dior wanted to invent at the Colle Noire", André Svétchine declared. The reception rooms and apartment of Christian Dior are furnished with eclecticism, decorated with objects of the XVIII and XIX centuries bought from antique dealers, while some rooms have the Louis XV or Louis XVI styles "among a multitude of other styles”. If Provence has inspired Christian Dior to create Miss Dior in 1947, it is the lily of the valley of the Colle Noire that is at the origin of Diorissimo, created in 1956 by Edmond Roudnitska. It is this tradition that inspired to François Demachy, perfume-creator of Parfums Christian Dior, La Col Noire, whose flowers come from the rose field in May, planted as a tribute in the park of the estate. After the death of Christian Dior on October 23, 1957, her sister Catherine inherited the estate but she cannot keep it and in 2013 the company Parfums Christian Dior bought La Colle Noire. Before this acquisition, the property belonged to the Laroche, owners of La Reserve in Beaulieu, then to Mr. and Mrs. Tassou. After an intense restoration begun in 2015, La Colle Noire was inaugurated by the Parfums Christian Dior on May 9, 2016 in the presence of Charlize Theron, regaining its vocation to welcome "the friends of the house". Christian Dior lies in a very simple tomb near his father, his housekeeper and his sister Catherine, who died in 2008, in the cemetery of Callian, near the chapel of Saint-Barthélemy.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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