The V&A opens the major and most complete art exhibition ever staged in the United Kingdom on the House of Dior. The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019 and traces the history and influence of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him, to explore the enduring impact of the fashion house and of his luxury brand.
Planned by the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, curated by Olivier Gabet and Florence Mϋller, this design exhibition has been curated for the V&A by Oriole Cullen and has Nathalie Crinière as an exhibition designer.
This art exhibition explores Dior’s artistic works with unique design and creative collaborations with British manufacturers, including Dents, Rayne, Lyle & Scott and Mitchel Maer. Perfect to live a unique experience, the exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s total design vision, encompassing garments, fine art pieces, accessories, and fragrances. This modern art gallery also focuses a highlight on the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations. Besides this, the modern art exhibition also brings to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954, of which several ensembles are now in the V&A’s collection.
From horticulture to global travel and historicism, the show reveals the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic. Take a look at some of the most important exhibitors and get impressed and amazed!
Christian Dior (1905–57), Bar Suit, Christian Dior Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 1947, Corolle Line
Comprised of an exquisitely sculpted off-white silk shantung jacket, a black pleated full wool skirt and hat, the Bar suit has become the emblem of Dior’s New Look style.
Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018
The present creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, created this magnificent final look for the Shanghai presentation of her Spring/Summer 2018 haute couture collection. The dress references a promotional fan given out during Dior fashion shows throughout the 1950s, now in the V&A’s collection.
Miss Dior limited edition, Baccarat blue crystal, 1947
Dior named his first perfume Miss Dior after his beloved younger sister Catherine. The artist sprayed the scent profusely throughout his salon at the launch of his first haute couture collection on 12 February 1947.
Sketch for model Les Lilas, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 1949
According to the artist: “I scribble everywhere, in bed, in my bath, at meals, in my car, on foot, in the sun, in electric light, by, and by night”. This design sketch is displayed alongside others from the early years of the House of Dior, giving insight into Dior’s design process and highlighting the lasting relevance of his two first silhouettes.
Christian Dior’s lucky star
Christian Dior was incredibly superstitious and carried lucky charms wherever he went. The most important was this five-pointed star, found on the street outside the British Embassy in Paris.
Royal portrait of Princess Margaret on her 21st birthday
Dior designed this dress for Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday, and she was photographed by Cecil Beaton in it for her official birthday portrait. This dress is one of the highlights from the exhibition’s Dior in Britain section, charting Christian Dior’s fascination with British culture.
Christian Dior (1905-57), Fête joyeuse, Evening Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 1955, A Line
According to the novelist Emma Tennant, this is ‘a dress from Dior in Paris, scarlet organza with a rose in its foliage mid-stomach…easily fastened and almost indestructible, being built with whalebones and further strengthened with what appeared to be a beige baize stiffened with wire’.
Christian Dior (1905–57), Junon, Dress, Haute Couture, Autumn/Winter 1949, Milieu du siècle Line
One of his most spectacular creations, Junon from the Autumn-Winter 1949 collection, featured overlapping petals of tulle meticulously embroidered with thousands of shimmering sequins to create a gradient from white in the center to deep blue at the edges.