Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, The Stunning New Dior Exhibition Honoring Dior’s History and Connection to Britain
“There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.” –Christian Dior
In 1947, Normandy-born Christian Dior opened his couturier at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris. More than 70 years later, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London now opens its doors to a Dior exhibition focused on the House’s history and legacy—Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. Though based on the 2017 Paris exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier de Rêves, it features reimagined and new exhibits that honor Dior’s longstanding fascination and relationship with English culture.
As the most comprehensive Dior exhibition in the UK, it delivers a complete dive into Dior’s history, creative vision, and inspirations. “When you see fashion presented like this, you can reflect on it in a different way,” notes Maria Graza Chiuri, creative director of Dior. “Fashion is not an image, it’s an experience, and the exhibition is a beautiful experience.”
Inside the Dior Exhibition
Designed by fashion and textiles curator Oriole Cullen and
set designer Nathalie Crinière, the exhibition touches on several themes of the
fashion house, bringing them to life in 11 distinct sections encompassing
Christian Dior’s life, Maison Dior’s most famous pieces, and inspirations.
For Dior, who has lived through both world wars and even
served in the French military, the epithet is more than appropriate for his
transformative designs. The “Bar Suit,” from his first collection in 1947, was
influential in redefining the female silhouette away from boxy pre-war shapes.
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The exhibition also pays homage to the longstanding themes that have inspired House of Dior from the era of Christian himself up until now. The “Travels” section showcases Dior’s love for traveling and cultural appreciation; the “Garden” room, featuring a massive, intricate paper flower installation, emphasizes the influence of flowers in design, from dresses to perfume; “Diorama” showcases the breadth of Dior house designs with trinkets and accessories such as make-up, magazine covers, and more.
If there was any imaginable fitting end to a Dior exhibition, the Ballroom embodies it. An unrestrained showcase of all of the beauty in Dior’s fantasy, there are some of Dior’s most iconic dresses: Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress immortalized by Cecil Beaton’s iconic photograph, Charlize Theron’s signature gold dress she wore in the decades-running J’Adore Dior campaign, famous premiere dresses from the Cannes Film Festival designed for and worn by Lupita Nyong’o, Rihanna, and more.
The magic of the exhibit transcends the physical pieces on
display. As Dior said, “The evening is a time when you can escape the realities
of everyday life.” With Dior’s history continuing to breathe and live on,
Chiuri reflects on her part in the 70-year-long story. “It’s a moment to speak
about women in a different way. It’s a huge responsibility to speak about
women, but I try to do my best.”
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Words by Yuki Yang
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