By now, you’re probably no stranger to Dior‘s Book Tote. You’ve seen how the Embroidered version of the tote is made, but today, here’s a look at the work that goes into making the Toile de Jouy version, from the Cruise 2019 collection. But, before, that, here’s a little bit of background behind the story of the season’s prints.
Traditionally, Toile de Jouy features pastoral and landscape imagery printed onto fabric, particularly cotton and linen. Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri took inspiration from this textile that adorned the walls of Monsieur Dior’s Avenue Montaigne boutique which opened its doors in 1947. Called “Colifichets”, the print, featuring a young bowman on a swing in a fantastical world, was developed in collaboration with decorator Victor Grandpierre. Chiuri then gave us her modernised take on the Toile de Jouy by replacing the pastoral scenes with wild animals, specifically, the tiger, monkey, lion, and serpent against foliage and tree trunks.
First hand-drawn on paper with ink, the Italian family-run atelier begins to recreate this imagery with embroidery work. Each piece requires more than one million six hundred thousand stitches, and takes 42 hours to complete.
Once everything has been entirely embroidered onto a beige background, the sewing machines, supervised by the artisans themselves, begin producing the motifs, beginning with the foliage in blue, and then the 4 animals. This process required thorough research, because specific stitching techniques were required to produce unique optical effects.
The final part, is the embroidery of “Christian Dior” in beige, with “Paris” in black, on the tote’s front.
I brought the decorative scenes up to date and made the more dynamic and surprising by representing animals considered wild and exotic to the Western imagination, which make my canvases almost acts of surreal transgression when compared to the traditional ones. You discover this only by really paying attention or observing the fabric very closely ~ Maria Grazia Chiuri ~
After embroidery-work was completed, the five individual Book Totes are inspected and then sent over to the Maison’s leatherworking ateliers in Florence, for assembly: both handles are mounted onto the bag and sewn with reinforcements on both sides. For the final touches, “Christian Dior Paris, Made in Italy” embossed with gold ribbon on smooth calfskin, is placed inside, and theban’s lateral central parts are assembled with the help of a sewing machine.
Now here’s an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the savoir-faire process
Images and video courtesy of Dior