Inside ‘Christian Dior, Designer Of Dreams’ Paris Exhibition
Size is not something that Mr. Dior ever found hard to come by. Quite the opposite, in fact, his earliest creations, with their generous curves and full silhouettes, were a far cry from the boxy, war time shapes that were so heavily restricted by fabric rations. This exhibition at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris reflects that same opulence – not only as the biggest Dior retrospective ever staged and the first held in France for 30 years, but through its sheers size – 32,000 ft worth of exhibition. Which is by no means a complaint – we’re all for size, and we’d honestly expect nothing less from a retrospective documenting the past 70 years of this brilliant and pioneering house, starting with Dior’s debut collection in back 1947.
Structured thematically, the exhibition begins with Dior’s childhood and his early days as a gallerist in Paris, selling works of Pablo Picasso and visiting flea markets with the then-unknown Salvador Dali. This back story is crucial for our complete understanding of the man and his collections, in the words of the exhibitions co-curator Florence Müller, “The goal of the exhibition is to show the source of creation and the breadth of culture that Christian Dior and the designers who succeeded him possessed. They really explored the history of art…Dior, and the others, made a point of bathing in culture.” From this perspective, the show explores the holistic workings of Dior’s mind; paintings of Monet, Renoir and Vigée Le Brun give his works an added context and a deeper understanding, this is a man who, after all, thought that “to achieve true elegance, you have to control everything”.
Further along, each of Dior’s successors are paid homage; starting with Yves Saint Lauren and going through to John Galliano and Raf Simons, right up to the present day and Maria Grazia Chiuri, their individual interpretations of Christian Dior’s original vision for the house are laid out. Continuing from this, a recreation of the house’s headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne showcases the lasting legacy of Dior’s work through the designs of Louis Vuitton, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and many more. For the exhibition finale, an extensive collection of Dior gowns worn by celebs past and present, accompanied by a light installation of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, a favoured setting of Dior’s campaigns – we had Charlize Theron whispering ‘j’adore’ in our heads the whole way through.
Jack and Garth both attended yesterdays preview and were blown away. Ten highly recommends.
Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams is on from July 5th, 2017 to January 7th, 2018.