The show starts at VIII

“Luxury is, above all, simplicity,” Christian Dior used to say.

catwalk show 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
catwalk show 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In Aprtil the largest watch, jewellery and precious-stone industries met at Baselworld, the elegant worldwide trade show that takes place every spring in Basel, Switzerland.
One of the most creative and sophisticated watch collections was the VIII Collection presented by Dior, which is available in Israel at H. Stern jewellery chain stores.
“Luxury is, above all, simplicity,” Christian Dior used to say.
Classic couture in style and allure like the Bar suit created in 1947, the Lady Dior bag in 1995 and the fragrance J’adore Dior in 1999, the new Dior VIII timepiece, imbued with the heritage of the legendary fashion house, is sleek, feminine and timeless. The ultrathin case, with its subtle attachments, is spare and uncluttered. It is the epitome of elegance and refinement, extending into a bracelet composed of little pyramids fashioned in ceramic. As the hours slip by, the light plays with its facets, revealing their dainty design, like the cannage patterned topstitching on the Lady Dior bag. The pyramid shape is reminiscent of the silhouette of the Bar suit, so emblematic of the haute couture house, which revealed Monsieur Dior’s passion for structured lines as early as his first 1947 collection. “I dreamt of being an architect. As a couturier, I have to respect the principles of architecture,” explained Dior at the time. He aroused general excitement with his new look silhouette and its impeccably structured jacket: soft, narrow shoulders, cinched waist and full hips.
Today, Dior timepieces pay tribute to the couturier with the creation of the Dior VIII wristwatch. The name, consisting of eight characters, is also a nod to the superstitious founder’s lucky numbers: the date of his couture house’s creation, October 8, 1946; the name of his first collection, called “en huit”; the VIIIth arrondissement of Paris and its Avenue Montaigne and 8 Place Vendôme, showcase of the high-end jewellery and timepiece collections.
Moreover, eight is the only number that appears in Roman numerals on the face of this classic, ultrafeminine wristwatch.
This timekeeper, designed to tick away the seconds and transcend fashion, is rather like the wardrobe of an haute couture house. “Haute couture is always ahead of its time,” Dior liked to remind us. Its color -- a chic and captivating black that only ceramic can achieve – enhances its timelessness. “I could write a book about black. You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. A ‘ little black dress’ is essential to a woman’s wa r d r obe ,” Dior wrote in his Little Dictionary of Fashion published in 1954.
Nevertheless, the couturier created a wide array of lavish evening dresses or ball gowns, each one more s u m p t u o u s and richly embellished than the next. Indeed, he added, “Black and white could suffice, but why deprive ourselves of color?” And so, from the very moment of its launch, the Dior VIII is adorned with diamonds and precious stones, sometimes for the whole collection, sometimes for the limited editions.
A combination of watchmaking expertise and high-end jewellery, these timepieces evoke the work of the seamstresses in the haute couture ateliers who pleat, embroider and snip the fabrics with the greatest skill and meticulousness. Thus the center of the Dior VIII’s dial is sometimes highlighted with a trickle of diamonds like satin stitching. The bezel, or rim, may also be paved, either partially with white diamonds inserted between ceramic pyramids or all over with baguette cut diamonds, citrines, tsavorites (garnets) or pink sapphires.
“Elegance is an ensemble where the invisible is as important as the visible,” said Dior.
From a technical standpoint, the Dior VIII timepiece is a jewel of precision and refinement.
Developed in the Ateliers Dior Horlogerie at La Chaux-de- Fonds in Switzerland, it is equipped with faceted luminescent hands, diamond point appliquéd indexes and a unidirectional rotating bezel. On the back of the dial, engraved with the words “VIII Place Vendôme,” the movement on the automatic versions is revealed through a transparent back casing, giving a glimpse of the black or colorfully lacquered oscillating weight.
Like haute couture styles, intricate and elegant right to the heart of their linings, this attention to detail reaches its epitome in the Dior VIII Grand Bal versions, in limited editions of 88 timepieces equipped with an automatic “calibre Dior inversé” movement. Like the whirl of a waltz, the movements of the oscillating weight on the dial are reminiscent of an embroidered petticoat, a lace corolla or a plissé studded with diamonds, exquisitely bringing together Swiss technology and Parisian panache.