In this third episode of the enthralling podcast series “Mes Chéries: The Women of Christian Dior”, recorded at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Oriole Cullen, curator of Modern Textiles and Fashion, and Justine Picardie, fashion editor and biographer, talk about two more of the many important women in Monsieur Dior’s life: Suzanne Luling and Madame Delahaye.
Remaining faithful to several childhood friends from Granville, Monsieur Dior hired Suzanne Luling to take charge of sales and PR. She had long been a source of stability to him, and as his fame and responsibilities exponentially grew he relied heavily on her as a level-headed and highly capable influence. Having turned to her when his beloved sister had been deported during the war, he turned to her again for her ability at being good in a crisis, whether that was managing the frictions that occurred daily in the workplace, or faultlessly orchestrating events and elegantly taking care of press, buyers and clients from across the globe.
As a child in Granville, Monsieur Dior had been told by a fortune teller that women would be very important in his future and it would be to them that he would owe his great success. That sense of superstition that emerged at a young age would become deeply ingrained, and by the time he was due to open his own couture house, consultations with a clairvoyant became an everyday occurrence. The woman in question was Madame Delahaye, a suitably mysterious figure about whom very little is known, not even her first name, but the role she played in his life, and in his creative decisions, cannot be underestimated. In a bitter twist of irony, having listened faithfully to her every prediction up to that point, he disregarded what would turn out to be her final piece of advice to him and headed off to a health spa in Italy, a trip from which he would never return.