Fashion and art simply oscillate in perfect harmony, and with respect to the master of couture, Mr Christian Dior — undeniably the combination resonated with him throughout this career.
Departing his early career days as an art gallerist, Dior turned his artistic viewpoint to haute couture as a fashion designer infatuated with the female form, and Dior’s revolutionary “New Look” allowed women to finally dress feminine again. Postwar, a cinched waist with a curved figure became the epitome of the 1950s silhouette for women, a look that continues to echo throughout recent collections.
This past February, with only a one-night stop in London, I coincided my quick visit with a tour of the just-opened exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, at my favourite museum the Victoria and Albert. Visiting with my gal pal, Joyce Goss, we absorbed every delicious vignette. The exhibition, a series of Dior stories in multiple rooms, showcases Dior’s vision throughout the decades neatly curated thematically, including his original fascination with Britain. Elements of his adoration need no explaining when you see the portrait of Princess Margaret taken in 1951 by royal photographer Cecil Beaton — the embodiment of a princess in a Christian Dior gown for her 21st birthday. From Mr Dior to Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and now Maria Grazia Chiuri — while perusing every silhouette in the exhibition, identifying the signature style of each designer becomes clearly apparent.
A few years ago if someone had asked who my favourite designer at the House of Dior was, aside from the original genius, categorically my response would be John Galliano. While I studied fashion design in London in the early Nineties, Dior was always front and centre as a point of design inspiration, which was then under the creative directorship of Gianfranco Ferré. However, I rejoiced when Galliano took the helm, offering a tantalizing tyranny of tailored intelligence that only Galliano can masterfully create. And now, we witness the empowered duality of Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female designer posted at the House of Dior, who is spearheading a cultural shake-up with feminine force, bringing a refreshing focus on the power and feminity of a woman, created by a woman. Dior, Galliano, Chiuri!
With all that said, the iteration of this exhibition is a must-see, so if you’re planning to visit London this summer, you’re in luck. The Victoria and Albert Museum announced last week that due to its incredible success the exhibition has been extended to September 1. Tip: If you can’t purchase a ticket, then become a member of the museum, free for all members and immediate access!
In the United States, the travelling exhibition, Dior: From Paris to the World, which recently closed at the Denver Art Museum will be opening in Dallas at the Dallas Museum of Art in May. Tickets go on sale to the public on April 15, so book early.