In honor of Christian Dior’s 70th anniversary, the iconic French fashion house is taking over Paris’s Les Arts Décoratifs museum for a colossal retrospective of the designer’s work. The museum’s largest fashion exhibition to date, “Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve” (“Christian Dior: Dream Couturier”) will feature the designs of the house’s founder, as well as the six couturiers who have proceeded him.The exhibition will be spread throughout a 32,000-square-foot space with an ornate set design by famed interior architect Nathalie Criniére, the highlight of which will be a ballroom inspired by Château de Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Criniére has recreated various other settings, such as an art gallery, a street, a garden, and a boudoir, for the space, which in recent years has hosted fashion exhibitions including “Dries Van Noten — Inspirations” and “Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs.”
“Dior: Dream Couturier” will feature a wide range of designs, including gowns worn by everyone from Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Diana to Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence. Unlike Les Arts Décoratifs’ 1987 retrospective of the ten-year period from 1947 to Christian Dior’s untimely death in 1957, this exhibition will showcase designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simmons, and Maria Grazia Chiurni, in addition to those by Dior himself. The outfits on display range from the simplicity of a minimal, grey, smock dress from Yves Saint Laurent for Dior’s spring-summer 1958 haute couture collection to a fiery orange, embroidered kimono created by Galliano for the house’s 1998 spring-summer couture show. Many items featured in the exhibition are from the Dior Héritage archives and will be shown in Paris for the first time ever, while other pieces are on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Also provided will be a behind-the-scenes look at the production of Dior’s collections and shows, with an haute couture atelier replicating seamstresses’ work environment. In total, the exhibition will display over 300 haute couture gowns designed over the last seventy years as well as hundreds of fashion photographs and documents, including sketches, illustrations, letters, and advertisements. Naturally, “Dior: Dream Couturier” will also feature the designer’s multitude of accessories, from hats, shoes, and bags to jewelry and perfume bottles.
The exhibition begins with a brief history of Christian Dior’s life, detailing how his experiences, particularly in the world of art, influenced his designs, which is shown through a collection of paintings, sculptures, furnishings, and fabrics. The museum stated in a press release, “Throughout the exhibition, paintings, sculptures and decorative objets d’art illustrate the couturier’s tastes and sources of inspiration as well as a creative sensibility shared by all the artistic directors who have followed in his footsteps.”“Dior: Dream Couturier” will open to the public on July 5, 2017, during Paris Couture Week, and will run until January 7, 2018, at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Visual Editor JUAN JOSE LOAIZA