An exhibition of dreams – Christian Dior at V&A Museum in London
To visit the exhibition »Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams« at the Victoria & Albert Museum, sisterMAG founders Thea and Toni took their mum and Fashion Director Evi on a short trip to London. In the latest sisterMAG issue, Toni reports about her impressions after visiting the exhibition of the very popular fashion designer Christian Dior.
An exhibition of dreams: Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams
»Fashion is not an image, it’s an experience, and the exhibition is a beautiful experience.« – Maria Grazia Chiuri for VOGUE UK
There are exhibitions that you want to see, and there are exhibitions that you have to see. »Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams« at London’s V&A Museum belongs without a doubt in the second category. The V&A curator for Modern Textiles and Fashion, Oriole Cullen, significantly expanded the original 2017 exhibition at Paris’s Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs into one of the largest and most (Instagram)-photogenic exhibitions of all time.
Attendees are enchanted by more than 500 displays, including 200 couture dresses and 157 pieces that have never before been exhibited in a museum. These include accessories, fashion photographs, perfumes, make-up, illustrations and magazines from more than 70 years of Dior.
The tour starts with one of the most famous Christian Dior designs – the »Bar« suit from the Corolle collection – in front of a replica façade of the legendary Avenue Montaigne Dior Boutique. Christian Dior’s haute couture debut in 1947 was like a hurricane that opened the door to post-war fashion. The age of fabric rationing and gas masks was over – it was time to dream.
The importance of Christian Dior’s »New Look« – as his groundbreaking style came to be known – cannot be overstated. In Britain, the Board of Trade was so afraid of Christian Dior’s influence on fashion that it called on the editors of fashion magazines to tear the 1947 collection apart. However, post-war women thirsting for new glamour and flair were ready to dream. And so Dior’s »New Look«, with its round shoulders, wide skirts, narrow waists and metres of fabric became the measure of all things.
The V&A exhibition shows »The Dior Line« from 1947 to 1957 with many famous examples, like the debut red dress of Emma Tennant and Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress. The exhibition places a special emphasis on Christian Dior’s close relationship with Great Britain:
»There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.« – Christian Dior
After his untimely death in 1957, six successors continued the legacy of Christian Dior. Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and the current designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, have put their own unique spin on the legacy brand. The exhibition traces these influences and shows Dior’s impact on his successors.
But the exhibition not only presents the individual epochs of the House of Dior, which always reflects changing economic and social conditions. It also dives into Dior’s other passions, such as travel, gardens and the ballroom. A special work of art is the »Garden« Hall. Dior creations embroidered with countless little flowers shine in front of a paper flower installation composed by Wanda Barcelona (http://wandabarcelona.com/) consisting of 200 Princess Margaret roses, 5,000 clematis, 1,400 wisterias and 4,000 lilies. The ballroom showcases evening gowns from all seven designers. Displayed in colour-coordinated groups, they reveal that the same creative spirit has inspired and continues to inspire all couturiers.
When you arrive at the end of the exhibition, it feels as though you’ve been transported through a dream. Such is the wonderful, inspiring journey through the magic of Dior.
If you’d like to get a glimpse of the fairytale, browse Instagram under the hashtags #diordesignerofdream #designerofdreams and #diorexhibition.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Sainsbury Gallery
London SW7 2RL
Daily: 10.00 – 17.45
Friday: 10:00 – 22.00
NOTE: The exhibition is currently sold out. Please refer to our »Digital Ladies Travel – 1.5 Days in London« feature for tips on how to make the best of your visit.