THE FASH­ION GALLERIES

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The News -

The first half of the ex­hi­bi­tion un­folds at the fash­ion galleries with a breath­tak­ing back­drop pro­jec­tion on the mu­seum’s wall out­lin­ing the façade of 30 Av­enue Mon­taigne, the mai­son’s first store and head­quar­ters. At the top is an oval medal­lion with a video loop of Dior run­way shows, past and present.

“My dresses make a princess of ev­ery woman.” – Chris­tian Dior As you walk up and en­ter the show, the first dress to stop you in your tracks is a “sa­tan red” clas­sic gown from 1947: wasp-waisted with a full, pleated skirt, this is the scan­dalous sil­hou­ette that women didn’t know they wanted at that time. It launched a new con­cept of lux­ury with its new lengths and new vol­umes. This “New Look”—so coined by then-edi­tor of BAZAAR US, Carmel Snow—brought Chris­tian Dior in­stant fame and made him an am­bas­sador of a post-war ideal of hour­glass fem­i­nin­ity.

The open­ing rooms are bi­o­graph­i­cal with spotlit per­spex boxes con­tain­ing the charm­ing and very pri­vate me­men­toes of the de­signer’s life: his “lucky” gold star, pho­to­graphs, tools, works-in-progress, fash­ion sketches for magazines, and let­ters he wrote to his fa­ther. There’s also a por­trait of the de­signer on the cover of a Time Mag­a­zine in 1957 hold­ing a gi­ant pair of scis­sors, which he later re­ferred to as a sym­bol of “a small blood­less rev­o­lu­tion—made by the scis­sors rather than the sword ...”

“We were just a sim­ple gath­er­ing of painters, writ­ers, mu­si­cians, and de­sign­ers, un­der the aegis of Jean Cocteau and Max Ja­cob.” – Chris­tian Dior Then it moves quickly to his days as a gal­lerist—a room rep­re­sent­ing the art and friends that in­spired him, in­clud­ing Sal­vador Dalí, Man Ray, Alexan­der Calder, and Al­berto Gi­a­cometti. Ray’s Per­pet­ual Mo­tive and Dalí’s Ret­ro­spec­tive Bust of a Woman are on dis­play. In fact, there are ap­prox­i­mately 100 art pieces (Claude Monet, Au­guste Renoir, and Elis­a­beth Louise Vigée Le Brun among them) through­out the show. All these con­tex­tu­al­i­sa­tions of art, fur­ni­tures and other ob­jets d’art with Dior’s dresses and de­signs in the hands of Ga­bet.

The themes there­after fuse Mon­sieur Dior’s work with the de­signs by the cre­ative di­rec­tors who fol­lowed af­ter his death in 1957: Yves Saint Lau­rent, Marc Bo­han, Gian­franco Ferré, John Gal­liano, Raf Si­mons and the house’s cur­rent artis­tic direc­tor for women’s col­lec­tions, Maria Grazia Chi­uri. What’s im­pres­sive is that Dior’s orig­i­nal vi­sion is so tightly pre­served and metic­u­lously trans­ported through the times since his death, just 10 years af­ter he founded the house.

“Colour may be used in touches if you wish to change the look of your clothes. An emer­ald scarf ... one bril­liant red rose ... a sun­shine yel­low stole ... royal blue gloves.” – Chris­tian Dior In another room, a “Colourama” theme paves a chro­matic cor­ri­dor of cream, dove grey, baby blue, teal, yel­low, ole­an­der pink, lilac, and pur­ple. Here, you get a first glimpse of how the house has ex­panded its fash­ion ap­proach through col­lab­o­ra­tions with milliner Stephen Jones, shoe de­signer Roger Vivier, and Swarovski (who cre­ated the Aurora Bo­re­alis crys­tal for Dior in 1956). In the glass dis­play cab­i­nets are shoes, hats, jew­ellery, per­fume bot­tles, dresses, and minia­ture dresses grouped to­gether ac­cord­ing to their hues and ar­ranged in the most el­e­gant rain­bow palette.

“Per­fume is the fin­ish­ing touch to any dress.” – Chris­tian Dior De­serv­ing its own mini ex­hi­bi­tion is Dior’s love, ad­ven­tures, and cre­ations of per­fume. As soon as he built the House of Dior, he knew it was not com­plete with­out a scent to match the com­plex­i­ties and con­fi­dence of the New Look woman. Mon­sieur Dior im­me­di­ately set up a sec­ond com­pany and launched his first fra­grance and now a sig­na­ture, Miss Dior.

Be­fore Natalie Port­man, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, and Gi­uli­etta Masina were faces of the now-leg­endary Miss Dior, there was only one woman that drove the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the scent: Cather­ine Dior, the cou­turier’s beloved sis­ter. She’s the orig­i­nal Miss Dior of Miss Dior, some­one the cou­turier viewed as coura­geous, chic, and em­bod­ied the scent. Pho­tos of Cather­ine and Château de La Colle Noire, where Mon­sieur Dior re­dis­cov­ered the glo­ri­ous scents of Provence, are dis­played in this per­fume-themed room. Also on dis­play are iconic flo­ral Miss Dior dresses: from the first one cre­ated in 1949 to Si­mons’s “pointil­list” de­sign and the most re­cent Chi­uri em­broi­dered cre­ation.

The New Flo­ral Dec­la­ra­tion Just as the House of Dior ex­pe­ri­enced many rev­o­lu­tions over the seven decades, Miss Dior has si­mul­ta­ne­ously been rac­ing ahead with its own rein­ven­tions. Since 2006, another im­por­tant fig­ure has en­tered the world of Miss Dior and that’s François Demachy, ap­pointed per­fumer­cre­ator at Par­fums Chris­tian Dior, who be­lieve that “cre­at­ing a per­fume is like cre­at­ing a paint­ing. Ev­ery­thing starts with an idea.” Demachy’s lat­est rein­ven­tion of the 70-year-old Miss Dior cre­ates an al­ter­na­tive vi­sion of what Miss Dior might mean. Launched in Septem­ber, the new Miss Dior is an ode to love. Port­man, who has been the face of the scent since 2010, plays a Miss Dior very much in love in its new cam­paign. Set to the track of Sia’s “Chan­de­lier”, the video asks, “And you, what would you do for love?” Port­man says: “I would go to the end of the earth for love!” It’s a wink of sassy at­ti­tude while stay­ing true to its el­e­gant fem­i­nin­ity. “From the mo­ment it was cre­ated, Miss Dior was the fra­grance of love, and a burst of life. This per­fume was meant to em­body the ideal of what a per­fume should be: sug­ges­tive, mes­meris­ing, and sen­sual,” says Demachy. The re­sult is some­thing of a new clas­sic. It’s still a chypre scent—with the po­tent notes of blood orange, man­darin, and berg­amot—and the Grasse rose and Turk­ish Da­m­as­cus rose give it a vi­va­cious flo­ral sen­su­al­ity. It’s un­mis­tak­ably Dior but in a new way.

Dior’s colour palette, pre­sented through dresses, ac­ces­sories, and make-up el­e­ments, ar­ranged along­side orig­i­nal il­lus­tra­tions by Rene Gruau and Mats Gustafson

The late Chris­tian Dior

The Ate­liers room, packed with the orig­i­nal toiles of hun­dreds of sculp­tural cre­ations

Ital­ian ac­tress Gi­uli­etta Masina open­ing the lim­ited-edi­tion of Dioris­simo EDP at the 1956 Cannes Film Fes­ti­val

Dior Miss Dior EDP, RM595 (100ml)

The many po­tent scents from Dior House of Per­fume, in­clud­ing its first­born, Miss Dior, in 1947

Miss Dior trav­el­ling spray bot­tle from 1949

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