The Origins of 30 Avenue Montaigne: Dior's Iconic Paris Address

The Origins of 30 Avenue Montaigne: Dior's Iconic Paris Address

"Have you seen the new Dior store yet?" was by far one of the biggest questions tossed around this past Paris Fashion Week, after whispers of a museum, pastry shop and luxury hotel suite inside the sprawling flagship began to circulate.

It's easy to see why — the buzzy reopening was an ambitious two-year renovation of its historic 30 Avenue Montaigne address, the same location where Christian Dior established his couture house in 1946 and has since grown over time after absorbing neighboring buildings.

Since debuting his 1947 fashion show there which featured the famous "New Look" silhouette, all of Dior's successors — Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri — have designed their collections out of this address, located in the heart of Paris’ affluent Triangle d’Or.

Christian Dior outside his couture house circa 1950 (© Association Willy Maywald/AGDP)

Indeed, so much of Dior's legacy is tied to 30 Avenue Montaigne (not unlike how Chanel is often associated with 31 Rue Cambon). Most of that history is captured in the store's adjoining Galerie Dior, a permanent exhibition space — the largest devoted to fashion in Paris — that showcases the brand's heritage across 21,500 square feet.

Some history tidbits likely featured are how Christian Dior first set eyes on the hôtel particulier in 1946 before launching his brand there in December of that year. (“It had to be 30 Avenue Montaigne. I was going to settle here and nowhere else!” he famously declared.) The countdown immediately began for February 12, 1947 — the date when the first couture collection and interior decor must be ready.

That collection spawned the famous "New Look" silhouette (a term originated from Harper's Bazaar's Carmel Snow) and was presented inside the main neoclassical salon. The brand's signature Miss Dior fragrance was also consecrated there.

The first Christian Dior show showing a model wearing the Bar suit. (© Pat English)

That same year, the designer opened his first boutique at this very address, called Colifichets — a word meaning ornaments — which housed gifts and objects for the home. Various celebrities and luminaries from Jean Cocteau to Marlene Dietrich were among the guests to see the brand's early fashion shows.

Now, more nearly 75 years later, 30 Avenue Montaigne is spread out over 10,000 square meters thanks to a complete renovation by architect Peter Marino. Among the main highlights are: the boutique; a beauty, fragrances and well-being alcove; La Galerie Dior, a tribute to Christian Dior’s first vocation as a gallery owner; the haute couture ateliers; the haute joaillerie ateliers; Le Restaurant Monsieur Dior and La Pâtisserie Dior; Three Gardens; and La Suite Dior.

Photography: Kristen Pelou

“I am extremely pleased and proud to see this extraordinary dream, this outstanding project, which my team and I have carried with all our passion, finally come true," says Pietro Becari (Chaiman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture. "More than a reopening, 30 Montaigne is a total reinvention and a living symbol of our DNA: the birth of a realm like no other in the world, where dreams are given free reign and a new, unprecedented page in the history of Dior, fashion – and Paris – can be written."

Photos courtesy of Dior