VOGUE Australia - - News - Ed­wina McCann Editor-in- chief

When Tony Ell­wood, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria ( NGV), told me that he had se­cured an in­de­pen­dently cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tion of the best of Chris­tian Dior cou­ture, which would cel­e­brate and in­clude the work of all seven de­sign­ers to head up the house, I was be­yond thrilled. The show is world class. Beau­ti­fully cu­rated by Katie Somerville, it rep­re­sents, I would ar­gue, the best and most com­pre­hen­sive fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tion that has ever been staged in Aus­tralia.

Chris­tian Dior chose three cities in which to cel­e­brate the 70th anniversary of the house this year, and Mel­bourne is one of them (along­side New York and Paris), thanks to this won­der­ful show.

The spe­cial con­nec­tion with Aus­tralia is noth­ing new for Dior. In fact, the re­la­tion­ship spans back decades to 1948, when 50 Dior dresses were shipped to Aus­tralia to show to wealthy pa­trons of the squat­toc­racy. It was the first Dior show ever staged out­side of Paris.

The Sec­ond World War had left Aus­tralia rel­a­tively un­scathed, and un­like in the US, where Mon­sieur Dior’s col­lec­tion was greeted with ri­ots be­cause of the abun­dant fab­ric used in his New Look, which seemed in­dul­gent in a time of con­tin­u­ing ra­tions, Aus­tralian clients and the press alike fawned over the col­lec­tion.

In the 1950s, cloth­ing sol­diers to fight the Korean War in cold win­ters con­trib­uted to the price of wool sky­rock­et­ing. Our sheep farm­ers were mak­ing for­tunes and there were sto­ries of them driv­ing around pad­docks in Roll­sRoyces and shop­ping for cou­ture. With his house just 10 years old, Chris­tian Dior could see the op­por­tu­nity and planned a sec­ond and even big­ger show, one hosted at David Jones in 1957.

Seven models made the long jour­ney to Aus­tralia for the event, and our deputy editor So­phie Ted­man­son spoke to one of them, Svet­lana Lloyd, who re­calls her time work­ing with Mon­sieur Dior, who sadly died one month be­fore the show was staged. Svet­lana also mod­elled for his pro­tégé and suc­ces­sor Yves Saint Lau­rent, and talks about the pen­nies she made per­son­ally each time a gar­ment was sold, which must make her one of the world’s first fi­nan­cially com­pen­sated in­flu­encers.

At Vogue we’ve cel­e­brated the NGV ex­hi­bi­tion by col­lab­o­rat­ing with renowned pho­tog­ra­pher Paolo Roversi to cre­ate a spe­cial cover and port­fo­lio of the looks. Paolo chose to pho­to­graph Aus­tralian ac­tress Bella Heath­cote in the most re­cent Chris­tian Dior cou­ture col­lec­tion, and models wear some of the finest ex­am­ples of the pieces in the ex­hi­bi­tion. I am sure you will agree the images, taken in his stu­dio in Paris, are stun­ning. They cap­ture the sil­hou­ettes, colour and beauty au­di­ences will en­joy at the NGV.

This is a very spe­cial is­sue for us and a won­der­ful way to cel­e­brate the art of fash­ion. Enor­mous thanks to Tony and his pro­fes­sional and de­light­ful team at the NGV for mak­ing this fash­ion dream a re­al­ity.

A Chris­tian Dior haute cou­ture spring/sum­mer ’95 dress from “Through the look­ing glass”, from page 118.

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