Updated on 4 January 2022
Reading time: 3 minutes
Colourful favorites coupled with seasonal core shades come together to create a palette of beautiful colours in Normandy that has inspired great Impressionist painters and world-famous fashion designers alike. Fashion lovers are in for a treat walking in the footsteps of the finest fashion designers on planet earth.
Coco Chanel and Deauville’s Boardwalk
Take a step back to 1913. In Deauville, Gabrielle Chanel opens her first boutique between the casino and the Hôtel Normandy, soon to become a hotspot for women who like to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Hats, sailor’s hats, sailor’s trousers were among the first items developed by the young woman, pioneer of a global summer seaside fashion. Inspired by racecourses, golf greens, tennis clubs and Normandy’s vast golden beaches, Coco Chanel’s invents a sporty and visionary sense of style that reflected a changing society and contributes to “giving back freedom to women’s bodies”.
Christian Dior: from the rose garden to catwalks
Legendary fashion designer Christian Dior was born in Granville in 1905, a seaside town on the west coast of Normandy. Raised by a wealthy family, Dior shared his passion for art and gardens with his mother. Although strongly encouraged by his parents to study political sciences, he was artistically inclined and expressed great interest in fashion design. He founded the house of Christian Dior in 1946 and presented his first collection the following year. Known as the famous “New Look” back in the days, his talent and creativity initiated an international frenzy never seen before and revolutionised the fashion industry.
Saint-James: the famous french jumpers
Inspired by the beautiful bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel and the sheep bred in the local salted meadows, Saint-James knitwear is an iconic French marine clothing label for women, men and children, iconic of the French maritime tradition all over the world. Established since 1889, the brand is known for their range of quality sailor’s striped shirts, sweaters & jackets. In 2013, its 130 years of excellence and know-how were recognized and awarded with the distinctive “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (Living Heritage Company) label by the French state. To find out more on this local fashion heritage, don’t miss out on visiting the factory and the workshops on a behind-the-scenes tour.
Alençon: the finest hand-made lace in France
Labeled “Musée de France”, the Museum of Fine Arts and Lace of Alençon showcases its lace-making traditions and unique know-how dating back to the 17th century. Listed by UNESCO in 2010 as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Point d’Alençon lace is an oral and gestural tradition passed on from generation to generation. A meticulous and precise work of art that requires 7 to 15 hours to create the size of a postal stamp in lace. It is no surprise that only a handful of talented lacemakers continue to perpetuate this fashion tradition today.
A touch of Normandie
Along the sailor’s hat and the Alençon lace accessory, the Normandy look includes the “eco jeans” made of 100% recycled fabric, designed and manufactured in the Orne department. The men’s clothing brand AVN – AVN – Atelier de la Venise Normande – in reference to the designers’ city of origin, combines natural elegance and a real concern over preserving the environment. If you’re after boxer shorts, Le Slip Français is a brand of choice 100% “Made in France.” This year, the new men’s collection puts Normandy in the spotlight.
Musée Christian Dior
1 rue d’Estouteville
*The exhibition “Dior Hats!” from Christian Dior to Stephen Jones”, is held from mid-April (to be confirmed) to 30 September 2022.
Daily from 10am to 6.30pm. Last entry at 6pm.
Musée des Beaux-arts et de la Dentelle
Cour carrée de la Dentelle