Dior at NGV

The gallery gets a New Look this win­ter

Time Out (Melbourne) - - INSIDE - By Alyx Gor­man

WHY WOULD A French fash­ion house with out­posts all over the world be cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary at the bot­tom of the earth? Why would the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria give over space to a brand one can eas­ily ac­cess on Collins Street, or Chad­stone shop­ping cen­tre? The Au­gust de­but of House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Cou­ture may seem counter-in­tu­itive at first, but let­ting the NGV’S cu­ra­tors loose in the im­mac­u­late archives of Chris­tian Dior was an act of sur­pris­ing sym­me­try for the brand, and the coun­try. The first time Chris­tian Dior showed out­side of Paris was in 1948, when David Jones brought 50 pieces of the de­signer’s spring col­lec­tion to Aus­tralia. “So [the ex­hi­bi­tion will be] look­ing at that, but also look­ing at all the dif­fer­ent con­nec­tions dur­ing that pe­riod,” says the ex­hi­bi­tion’s cu­ra­tor, Katie Somerville. In the post­war pe­riod, Dior’s road­shows down un­der came com­plete with flocks of French man­nequins (mod­els), and the ex­hi­bi­tion will fea­ture video in­ter­views with some of the women who toured Chris­tian Dior’s fi­nal col­lec­tion for the house in 1957. All of the de­sign­ers who sub­se­quently worked for the Mai­son will have their cre­ations rep­re­sented in the show. There’ll be pieces from the young Yves Saint Lau­rent, who took over the house af­ter Mon­sieur Dior’s sud­den death, right through to the brand’s cur­rent (and first fe­male) cre­ative direc­tor, Maria Grazia Chi­uri. Be­cause this ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cuses ex­plic­itly on Dior’s haute cou­ture cre­ations, crafts­man­ship will be at the cen­tre of the show – lit­er­ally, they’ll be cre­at­ing an ate­lier in the mid­dle of the ex­hibit. “We re­ally wanted to con­vey, as dy­nam­i­cally as pos­si­ble, an im­mer­sive sense of what it is and where it is, that this in­cred­i­ble magic hap­pens within the con­text of a cou­ture house.” The gar­ments made in the Chris­tian Dior ate­lier of­ten take hun­dreds of hours and dozens of skilled hands to as­sem­ble. This makes their price as­tro­nom­i­cal. A piece of haute cou­ture nowa­days costs tens, if not hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars. Much like con­tem­po­rary art, this means an ex­hi­bi­tion is the only way your av­er­age hu­man can cast their eyes on this rar­efied craft. House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Cou­ture, NGV In­ter­na­tional, 180 St Kilda Rd, Mel­bourne 3006. 03 8620 2222. www.ngv.vic.gov.au. Daily 10am-5pm. Free. Aug 27-Nov 7.

“Magic hap­pens within the con­text of a cou­ture house”

Ella Bond, Bela Pala­cio Hazewinkel and Mad­di­son Lukes (L-R) at NGV In­ter­na­tional

Chris­tian Dior mod­els in the sa­lon of House of Dior’s head­quar­ters, 30 Av­enue Mon­taigne, Paris, 1957

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