Today, she is the creative director of Dior Maison. Her relationship with the French couture house goes way back: she spent nine years at the helm of Baby Dior. For Dior Maison, too, Cordelia is never short of inspiration. She loves to dig around in the archives, searching for prints, colours, patterns and shapes, transforming and rebooting them in a tasteful range of home accessories. In that spirit, she has launched homewares in Toile de Jouy, the 18th-century French classic, a favourite textile of Monsieur Christian Dior himself, who used it to decorate the first Dior boutique in 1947. She followed that up with a Dior Maison collection based on the Lily of the Valley, Dior’s favourite flower (it was used as a scent for Diorissimo), and another one inspired by imaginative Dior gardens.
The art of living and entertaining à la française is something that comes naturally to Cordelia, though her family is Greek-Spanish. She splits her time between her apartment in Paris and a beautiful country house in the picturesque Oise province in the north of France. At the head of Dior Maison, hallmarks of her style include a touch of humour and quirkiness. Full of colours, prints and patterns, her moodboards are filled with joie de vivre. Now, she is preparing to release her coffee table book with Rizzoli, Life in a French Country House; divided into chapters corresponding to the seasons, it includes everything from decorating tips to tablescaping guides and old-fashioned recipes. “I love to feel the seasons,” she tells Vogue. “True change fascinates me, especially in nature.” Below, Cordelia shares her tips for creating a thoroughly French home.
Recognise that a home is an evolving entity
“My home is me. My house is a reflection of my soul. It’s the place where I am at my most creative. I couldn’t live in a place done by someone else. I never understand people who have their new home completely decorated so that all they need to do is just move in. I do a lot of things myself in the house, from painting to restoration: a house is never finished. It shares our lives with us and aspects of it change and evolve—just like we do.”
Keep eclecticism front of mind
“There is no such thing as bad or good taste, and accidents are essential when decorating a house. I don’t like the idea of a total look. If the bed matches the curtains and the walls then I feel like I’m in a hotel. A house’s decoration should be effortless. Things should just find their place and purpose naturally. I don’t want a house to be picture-perfect. My furnishings and objects come from a wide array of different places. They could be from my travels, family things, old things from my grandparents that no one wanted—I’ll take anything. And sometimes I transform them, too. I’m not afraid to mix things: very old family lace bedsheets with a beautiful bedspread from the high street, or things from a flea market or a chain store.”
Never shy away from prints
“I’m a print girl. I learned from Emanuel Ungaro not to be afraid to mix them, even though sometimes I love the idea of a plain white linen sofa in the middle of a crazy room… I also love using printed fabrics in the bathroom.”
Make the kitchen the centrepiece of your home
“The kitchen is my favourite place; it must be welcoming, and it’s the place where we have all our meals with my large family or with friends. I’m a Greek-Spanish girl, so for me the table and food and conversations are all so important. The dining room should be in the kitchen, so I can keep cooking even with everyone sitting. I like the idea of being relaxed and comfortable, with soft lighting or candles, and beautifully set tables in the middle of my kitchen. I love those contrasts.”
Fill your home with books and flowers
“I collect a lot of books. They imbue a place with real spirit. I keep them all, and the more I have, the happier I am. I even stack them on top of each other to use as side tables. Another very important thing to me is flowers. I was so lucky during the lockdown to be able to have my own flowers from the garden. How sad a house without flowers is.”
This story was originally published on British Vogue.