INTERVIEW & PRIZE DRAW
The book Miss Dior by author and journalist Justine Picardie centres on the story of Catherine Dior. Sister of the designer Christian, she was a florist who became a member of the French Resistance during WW2 and was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. At the end of the war, when Christian went to meet her at the station, she was so malnourished that he didn’t even recognise her. His famous ‘New Look’ launched in 1947, featured a dress created just for her and the fragrance Miss Dior was inspired by her. Here Justine tell us more about the book and to celebrate the publication, we’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader. Just enter the prize draw below.
Dior Couture Croquis collection HC PE 1949 modele Miss Dior 001; Legende: Miss Dior Robe du Soir courte Brodée de mille fleurs; Copyright: Collection Dior Heritage, Paris
The research for the book took many years, and it led me from the Dior archives in Paris to the Christian Dior museum in Granville, which was the Dior family home on the coast of Normandy. I also looked at various archives of the French Resistance, and I travelled to Germany, to research Catherine Dior’s imprisonment at Ravensbruck concentration camp and a series of three sub camps, where she was forced to work as a slave labourer. And I spent a long time going through the military archives, too, in order to understand the way in which the Gestapo operated in Paris during the Second World War, using French collaborators.
The relationship between Christian and Catherine Dior was based on friendship, a shared love of flowers and gardening, and an intuitive understanding of one another. He was 12 years older than her, and very protective of her when their mother died, when Catherine was just 13 years old. But they became close friends, too, with a mutual respect and unwavering loyalty.
What do you think that Christian would have thought of the House of Dior today?
I hope that Christian would approve of the House of Dior today — it truly understands and celebrates his legacy, while Maria Grazia Chiuri, as the first female creative director, has reinterpreted Dior icons, such as the Bar jacket, for the modern woman, with sensitivity as well as graceful panache.
Photograph by Lillian Bassman for Harper’s Bazaar (c) Estate of Lillian Bassman.
I’m certainly thinking about my next book, and hoping to start writing it before too long — though I don’t want to tempt fate by talking about it yet!
Try to find your own, most authentic voice – don’t try to write like anyone else. And write from the heart, about a subject or a story that you find utterly compelling. And keep writing – the more you do it, the more you discover what is true to you.