DIOR. The name says it all. This summer’s fabulous Paris Fashion Week ended with a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime event: the opening of Christian Dior, Dream Couturier, the largest exhibit of its kind ever at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
The exhibit traces 70 years of the fashion house’s achievements, honoring Monsieur Dior as well as the six designers who succeeded him, up through Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current and first female artistic director in the company’s history.
Of his own multifaceted personality, Dior once said:
“By being natural and sincere, one often can create revolutions without having sought them.”
This is exactly what occurred in February 1947, when he upended post-war fashion and the image of women with his first runway show. A cinched waist, straight shoulders, a high round bosom and exaggerated hips exemplified his style, along with a return to traditional embroidery and large swaths of fabric.
“It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses are wonderful, they have such a new look!” said Carmel Snow, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar.
After a period of austerity, Dior’s “New Look” gave back to the fashion world its ability to inspire and launched 30 more years of glorious creativity.
The exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs covers more than 3000 m2, exploring the many forms of art that have contributed to the magic of Dior. It traces the designer’s life from his childhood in Normandy to his wild years in Paris and beyond—including his discovery of the avant-garde work of the young artists of the time, Giacometti, Dali, Cocteau, Max Jacob, and his love for 18th-century neo-classicism and exoticism. Also on exhibit are paintings, sculptures and objets d’art that illustrate his favorite creative themes and influenced his artistic style: art and photography, a profusion of colors and textures, austere Parisian elegance and floral motifs.
Overall, more than 300 dresses from 1947 to today are on display, showcasing the talents of designers Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferré and even the controversial John Galliano, each of whom put their own vivid and lasting stamp on the Dior brand. But the greatest star remains Christian Dior himself, designer, art collector and one-time gallery owner, whose life and artistic tastes are illustrated through personal photographs, sketches, illustrations, letters, accessories and furniture, many of which have never before been seen in Paris.
The exhibit culminates in a sumptuous ballroom décor, modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, which features the stunning evening gowns worn by famous clients such as Princess Grace of Monaco or Lady Diana, all of whom contributed to the widespread recognition of the Dior name. For those curious as to how such intricate creations are made, a replica of an haute couture studio highlights the work of the talented artisans behind the scenes.
Don’t miss this chance to witness up close the magical creations of Christian Dior and his successors, all of whom have made enormous contributions to French culture throughout the decades, exemplifying high fashion’s ability to make us dream.
When: July 5, 2017 through January 7, 2018
Where: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris