Zémire - Christian Dior
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'Zémire' is one of Dior's most historical designs. It was named after an opera by Grétry, first performed at the royal palace of Fontainebleau in 1771. Initially, it was called 'Fontainebleau', but this was crossed out on the chart and replaced by 'Zémire'.
Zémire was a design from Dior's 'Ligne H' collection. The original model in grey silk satin was shown to Princess Margaret at Blenheim Castle in 1954, and it appears in a promotional film and several magazine features. A ready-to-wear version was licensed to Susan Small, a British company that made 'line-for-line' copies for Harrods. It sold for 22 guineas.
This version of Zémire is a private order and would have been very expensive. It was commissioned by Lady Sekers, wife of the British textile manufacturer, and made in an innovative man-made fabric.
The V&A acquired the ensemble in 2006. It had been stored in a cellar by the Seine in Paris and had to be cleaned and repaired before it could be displayed.
'Zémire' evening ensemble
Cellulose acetate, with the skirt lined with layers of silk and net
Museum no. T.24:1, 2, 3-2007