— After announcing the latest additions to its current collections in Paris two years ago, Dior Watchmaking is showcasing its artistic crafts through stunningly varied one-of-a-kind creations. The link between haute couture and haute horlogerie has never been so vividly perceptible.
Grand soir, grand bal, fil d’or (gold thread), froufrous (rustling fabric) and cancans: the vocabulary used by Dior for its 2015 collections is unmistakably its very own. Far from being mere figures of speech, the semantic field of haute couture finds a resounding echo in the world of haute horlogerie. In both cases, the result is a range of unique and highly creative models.
This spirit had already been glimpsed in Tokyo in a runway show featuring an array of electric colours and radiating a resolutely different character. Yet the name of this collection comes from one of the gowns by the great couturier himself, Christian Dior, and designed in the 1950s: Envol.
This bridge spanning two episodes in its own history has inspired Dior Watchmaking to create 15 unique models, nine of which are on show in Baselworld. The work done on the creations from the House is futuristic in terms of colours, and traditional in terms of materials. The colours are indeed strong and electric, the straps are metallized, while the key material used for the dials is a direct product of nature: beetle wings.
With this material bringing to mind a number of watch creations based on butterfly wings, Dior has created a broad colour spectrum ranging from green to purple. The wings are unfurled like a fan appearing on the dial side in a uniquely colourful marquetry, framed by a bezel set with a stone in shades matching the main shade of the beetle wings: spinel, sapphire and diamond. The straps adopt the same creative approach with a metallized-effect leather, creating a unique texture that is both familiar and yet distinctly new.
In parallel, the Dior VIII Grand Bal Fil d’Or (gold thread) is following in the graceful footsteps of the previously launched Fil de Soie (silk thread). The principle is the same: making the most of the calibre “Dior inversé” (inverted calibre) – in which the oscillating weight appears on the dial side – to showcase the talent of artistic crafts teetering on the verge of extinction.
While silk thread embroidery on such an incredibly tiny scale was already an impressive feat, goldthread embroidery (also known as goldwork) is even more outstanding. Only a handful of lacemakers working with bobbin lace still master this craft, working in the historical birthplace of this age-old art: Le Puy-en-Velay. The incomparable finesse of the result is set off to full advantage at the heart of a black or white ceramic case with a gem-set bezel. From 40,000 euros.
The very same Dior inverted calibre also appears decked out in feathers. While this is not a first in itself, since the collection had already welcomed a model with a feather-clad oscillating weight, the novelty here lies in a version on which the dial too is adorned with feathers.
In all, Dior therefore uses three layers of feathers within a case of the same thickness, while freely indulging in multiple chromatic variations ranging from black through blue to yellow. All these subtle hues are held in the centre by a lacquered disc in the same colour as the black or white ceramic case. This Dior VII Grand Bal “Cancan” will be issued in 88-piece limited series for each shade.
Finally, Dior will be further enriching its Dior Grand Soir “Frou-Frou” collection that it presented in Paris a few days ago. In all, the collection will thus encompass five models giving pride of place to pleats and various subtle plays on fabric now reinterpreted in watchmaking terms with a gold draped effect on a mother-of-pearl dial. The patterns are traditionally sculpted in white, pink or yellow gold “lacework” creating a unique three-dimensional motif. From 150,000 euros.