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V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

United Kingdom Architecture News - Feb 15, 2019 - 07:31   14680 views

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

The V&A has opened its new exhibition for Dior, one of the world's top fashion houses, is displayed as the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior. 

Titled Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, the highly stylistic show is the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019 at the Sainsbury Gallery.

From 1947 to the present day, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams traces the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him, to explore the enduring influence of the fashion house.

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

From horticulture to global travel and historicism, the show reveals the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic. From the daring designs of Yves Saint Laurent to the rational style of Marc Bohan, the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of fashion, the exhibition shows how each successive artistic director has stayed true to Dior’s vision ofHaute Couture, while bringing their own creative sensibilities to the House.

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

Presented in 11 sections, the exhibition is curated by Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator of the V&A. Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition is entirely reimagined for the V&A. 

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

"In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his New Look, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-War Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950s onwards," said Oriole Cullen. 

"The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define anera. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today." 

"More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition celebrates the enduring influence of the House of Dior and reveals new research about Dior’s relationship with Britain," Cullen continued. 

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

A brand-new section explores, for the first time, the designer’s fascination with British culture. Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary. 

He also had a preference for Savile Row suits. His first UK fashion show took place at London’s Savoy Hotel, and in 1952 he established Christian Dior London.

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

The exhibition investigates Dior’s creative collaborations with British manufacturers, including Dents (gloves), Rayne (shoes) Lyle & Scott (knitwear) and Mitchel Maer (costume jewellery). It also focuses on his most notable early British clients, from author Nancy Mitford to ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn. 

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London following conservation work. 

The exhibition also brings to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’smost luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954, of which several ensemblesare now in the V&A’s collection.

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition features over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, vintage perfume, original make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions. 

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

It also showcases highlights from the V&A’s world-class Couture collections, including the iconic Bar Suit, gifted to the museum by the House of Dior in 1960 with the help of Cecil Beaton.

V&A's new exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s design vision as an extensive archive

The exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s total design vision, encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture House and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints, but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show.

All images © Adrien Dirand, courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum, London

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