Eva Jospin Brings Dior-commissioned Embroidery Work to Versailles Palace

PARIS — When artist Eva Jospin first unveiled her monumental foray into embroidery at Dior’s fall 2021 haute couture show, she explained that the intricate creation was inspired by seeing the Embroidery Room at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome.

Now her 120-foot-long artwork “The Silk Room” has landed in a majestic setting of its own: the Orangery at the Palace of Versailles.

At a cocktail on Tuesday night, visitors strolled the length of the building’s central gallery, under a 43-foot-high vaulted ceiling, to take in the intricacies of the imaginary landscape rendered in more than 400 shades of thread by the Chanakya workshop and the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, which regularly partners with Dior.

“To see it like that is very impressive,” said Jospin, noting that the panels were laid out in a U shape when they were initially presented in a tent at the Rodin Museum in Paris as the backdrop for the collection designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of womenswear at the French fashion house.

Jospin has added two new panels for the presentation at the Orangery, which will remain open to the public until Sept. 29.

The French artist, known for her intricate landscapes made of paper cutouts, said her initial design was partly based on etchings of an artificial grotto in the gardens of Versailles, which was destroyed in the 17th century.      

“When I returned to the embroidery to add to it, I wanted to refer once again to a drawing and to a vanished Versailles,” she said. The inspiration came from the groves designed by André Le Nôtre, gardener and architect to King Louis XIV, which have often been modified over the years.

“The idea was also to say that a garden is constantly evolving — that even in the garden that is the ultimate symbol of heritage in France, things are changing all the time,” Jospin explained.

Eva Jospin

Eva Jospin

Pierre Mouton/Courtesy of Christian Dior Parfums

The artist loves to play with scale, embedding a wealth of microscopic details into her large-scale installations. “I always move from the monumental to the miniature, from the general to the specific,” she said. “I love it when your gaze switches from embracing the totality of the work from as far away as possible, to getting lost in the details.”

That’s why it wasn’t such a stretch for her to bring her signature touch to a miniature embroidered trunk for a 150-piece numbered limited-edition bottle of Miss Dior perfume, which was displayed on a pedestal at the entrance of the gallery.

“It’s a kind of essence of this embroidery in all its intricacy, and with even more delicate techniques,” Jospin said.

Despite its scale, there’s another intimate dimension to “The Silk Room.” Its title in French, “Chambre de soie,” is an allusion to Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own” and it had Jospin mulling on the personal spaces carved out by the historical figures that roamed Versailles, in particular its doomed Queen Marie Antoinette.

“This place is so gigantic that even Louis XIV or Marie Antoinette wanted to create spaces to withdraw and hide away — mini-worlds of their own,” she remarked. “There are doors and corners hidden away from the public areas, and the pomp and decorum. There are all these secret corridors, antechambers and entrances, so we know that the castle is full of mysteries.”

Dior has a long-standing partnership with Versailles. The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand sponsored the restoration of the Queen’s Grove, and has used the castle as the backdrop for ads, including a J’Adore campaign filmed in the Hall of Mirrors.

In 2007, it celebrated the 60th anniversary of the house with a spectacular collection by John Galliano presented at the Orangery, followed by a party in the gardens.

The Miss Dior x Eva Jospin prestige edition.

The Miss Dior x Eva Jospin prestige edition.

Pierre Mouton/Courtesy of Christian Dior Parfums

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