Decades of DIOR

From the name­sake founder’s first cre­ation to Maria Grazia Chi­uri's cur­rent collection, the Musée des Arts Dé­co­ratif’sChris­tian Dior: De­signer of Dreams ex­hi­bi­tion show­cases the best of Dior across decades.

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - Fashion - By Azza Arif

“Deep in ev­ery heart slum­bers a dream and the cou­turier knows it: ev­ery wo­man is a princess.” That dream was brought to life by Chris­tian Dior, one of the world’s most iconic names, syn­ony­mous with Parisian haute cou­ture. In hon­our of its 70th an­niver­sary, the French fash­ion la­bel de­cided to let the world step into its di­verse and com­plex uni­verse by tak­ing over Musée des Arts Dé­co­rat­ifs for a ret­ro­spec­tive that is said to be the mu­seum's largest ever fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tion, of­fer­ing a window into the legacy of Dior, and its im­por­tance in the world of fash­ion and cul­ture.

Metic­u­lously or­gan­ised by its co-cu­ra­tors, Olivier Ga­bet, di­rec­tor of the mu­seum, and Florence Müller, fash­ion his­to­rian and cu­ra­tor of tex­tile art and fash­ion at the Den­ver Art Mu­seum, the Chris­tian Dior: De­signer of Dreams ex­hi­bi­tion is spread through­out both wings of the mu­seum, tak­ing over 3,000 square me­ters of ex­hi­bi­tion space.

An ex­hi­bi­tion in hon­our of the brand’s 70th an­niver­sary isn’t all that surprising; after all, Chris­tian Dior him­self owned an art gallery be­fore open­ing his fash­ion house and had a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for col­lect­ing Art Nou­veau ob­jects, as well as 18th-cen­tury in­te­rior de­sign. In homage to this, archival col­lec­tions shown in the ex­hi­bi­tion will be paired with a se­lec­tion of paint­ings, sculp­tures, and ob­jets d’art that com­pli­ment the clothes and il­lu­mi­nate the de­signer’s pas­sions and in­spi­ra­tions. Many of the items are from the Dior Héritage ar­chives, while oth­ers are on loan from pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing the Cos­tume In­sti­tute at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York, London’s Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Lau­rent and the Palais Gal­liera in Paris.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs till 7 Jan­uary 2018, opens with the be­gin­nings of the Dior ad­ven­ture, and sto­ries from Chris­tian Dior’s life as a founder as well as his pre­vi­ous ca­reer as a gallery owner, and de­tails on how his pas­sion for art in­flu­enced his de­signs, in­cor­po­rat­ing ref­er­ences to art, from paint­ings, sculp­tures and china to fur­nish­ing fab­rics. Through­out the ex­hi­bi­tion, these ob­jets d’art il­lus­trate the cou­turier’s pas­sions and sources of in­spi­ra­tion, guid­ing vis­i­tors through the de­signer’s ca­reer from its start, all the way to the

his six suc­ces­sors who have fol­lowed in his foot­steps, and the im­por­tance of each one’s con­tri­bu­tion to the House’s vision, from the dar­ing Yves Saint Lau­rent, the ra­tio­nal Marc Bo­han, the flam­boy­ant Gian­franco Ferré, the dra­matic John Gal­liano, the min­i­mal­ist Raf Si­mons and the cur­rent reign of the fem­i­nist Maria Grazia Chi­uri.

Im­ages cre­ated by the lead­ing pho­tog­ra­phers of the pe­riod il­lus­trates a se­lec­tion of all six of the heir’s most iconic cre­ations, each de­signer cast­ing their in­di­vid­ual creative touch in re­cast­ing the founder’s stylis­tic vision. The ex­hi­bi­tion also hon­ours creative di­rec­tors Serge Lutens, Tyen and Peter Philips for Dior Beauty, as well as François Demachy, the House’s ex­clu­sive per­fume-cre­ator.

In or­der to give vis­i­tors an in­sight into the se­cret world of the House’s ate­liers, work­ing doc­u­ments, such as mock-ups of gar­ments and sketches are propped beautifully at sec­tions of the ex­hi­bi­tion. Amongst the iconic pieces dis­played were the Bar suit, the Maxim’s cocktail out t, the Plaza dress, the Soirée de Paris evening gown, the gold-em­broi­dered dresses cre­ated for the J’Adore campaigns, dresses made for Princess Mar­garet and Princess Diana, as well as many other cre­ations that have made a last­ing im­pact on the red carpet galas and pre­mieres around the world.

The ex­hi­bi­tion also high­lights Dior’s well-known part­ner­ships, in­clud­ing those with Stephen Jones for hats, Roger Vivier for shoes, René Gruau and Mats Gustafson for il­lus­tra­tions, and Swarovski for cer­tain jew­ellery pieces and em­broi­deries. For those who want to view an in­dept look at the House’s ac­ces­sories, a visit to the ‘Colorama,’ an ex­hi­bi­tion within the ex­hi­bi­tion, of­fers a panorama of all of Dior’s ac­ces­sories, no­tably jew­ellery pieces crafted us­ing the Aurora Bo­re­alis stone.

A breath­tak­ing way to tell the story of the evo­lu­tion of the house, the Chris­tian Dior: De­signer of Dreams ex­hi­bi­tion per­fectly con­veys an en­dur­ing ad­her­ence to the founder’s vision, who wanted to “make women not only more beau­ti­ful, but hap­pier.” And now, decades later, that weav­ing of dreams con­tin­ues un­der the creative lead­er­ship of Maria Grazia Chi­uri, keeping the dream of haute cou­ture alive and mak­ing that dream a re­al­ity for count­less of women.

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