I n 2017, for your first haute couture show for Christian Dior, you invited Claude Lalanne to make jewellery and sculptures. Why did you want to collaborate with her?
I knew and admired Lalanne’s work, so when I arrived at Dior, one of the first things I did was search the archives to delve into the long and fruitful relationship between Les Lalanne and the Maison, starting with the windows of the first shop at 30 Avenue Montaigne. I wanted to get to know Claude and ask her to design jewellery sculptures for my first couture collection. I thought it was not just an opportunity to have amazing pieces, but also an homage to the history of my new home, rekindling and celebrating an important connection that had existed between these extraordinary artists and Dior.
Was it important to you that she was a female artist?
The quality of the work always comes first. Of course, I’m pleased that she’s also a woman. Especially since giving visibility to artists and their work is one of my missions.
How did the 2017 collaboration with Claude Lalanne work?
When I went to see her, we were instantly in perfect sync. I explained the image of the maze I had in mind for the first Dior Haute Couture collection. For me, this first couture project was very similar to being in a maze, where the way out was covered with flowers and plants, these allegorical figures that are part of the iconography of these places, and at the same time recall the fantasy of Christian Dior. I invited Lalanne to interpret an element of Dior’s heritage with other materials, like the millefiori, to recreate a garden of sculptural flowers that could then be carried over to the dresses with a different materiality, like the georgettes or feathers.
Nature always has an important place in your creations and collections. Did you feel that Claude represented plants and François Xavier animals?
I’ve always liked designs and embellishments that evoke the natural world and the animal kingdom. Especially since I like being in nature, in the countryside, or in allotment gardens, like the one my father had. Simple flowers, that grow naturally. When I arrived at Dior, I found wonderful connections to nature - stars, planets, zodiac signs. It allows us to tell stories that speak to different sensibilities. I think what interests me the most is really being able to connect to the entire botanical and animal universe.
What are your favorite pieces in Dorothée Lalanne's collection?
It’s impossible to pick a favourite, I like them all and I’d like to take every single one home. Obviously, the jewellery and the sculptures are absolutely extraordinary, they’re delicate and powerful at the same time. An expression of an almost magical and profoundly inspiring imagination.