It was on a cold February day of 1947 when a young couturier named Christian Dior presented his first collection at a townhouse on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. A wave of shock and awe went through the room as a model walked by in a cream shantung jacket fitted at the waist and flared into a peplum along with a calf-length skirt made with 20 yards of black wool. The Bar suit never quite left the French luxury house after that.
Sixty-seven years later, Dior revisited the suit and other ballroom gowns to create a jewellery line called the Archi Dior collection. Rose—Christian’s favourite flower—might sulk, for Dior Joaillerie’s artistic director Victoire de Castellane decided to ditch it for fabrics. Rummaging through archival sketches, she found inspiration to design pieces that would resemble fabrics’ flounce and movement. The collection uses precious stones to create three dimensional ribbons, belts and tassels. The malleability of gold and platinum has been put to use creating pleats, hemlines to dressy silhouettes to be slipped across fingers, seated at necklines or wrapped around wrists.
Take the Bar en Corolle Diamant ring inspired by the Bar suit. Set in white gold, it has a belt made with emeralds and a large cushion-cut diamond at the centre. The drape has been recreated using pink and purple sapphires, garnets and diamonds. Castellane also took inspiration from Ailee evening dress (1948-49), Songe dress (1947) and the Junon dress from 1949, among others. The handcrafted collection took over three years to be completed. Prices start at $3.83 lakh and the 44-piece line will be displayed at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris from September 11 to 21.