Yesterday saw the launch of the V&A’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015.
We got a sneak preview and in short, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (you can buy tickets here), was every bit as dreamy as we’d hoped. It covers the many iterations of the House of Dior, from its creation by Christian Dior in 1947 to the present day, under the leadership of Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Based on the Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve exhibition in Paris, it has been re-imagined, with a new section exploring the couturier’s fascination with British culture – for example, he loved Saville Row suits, loved Britain’s great houses and gardens and founded Christian Dior London in 1952.
One of the highlights is no doubt the dress he created for Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday, and there is also the sleek slip dress Princess Diana wore to the 1996 Met Gala, which was in tribute to the late designer.
There is a display for each of the six designers who have worked for the house, starting with Mr Dior himself and that ‘new look’ dress, via John Galliano’s exuberant designs and Raf Simons’ more minimalist take (including that Natalie Portman dress from the ad), ending with Maria Grazia Chiuri’s ethereal tulle gowns which just make us want to weep tears of joy.
Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A, said: ‘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. The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. 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 will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.’
It is, quite simply, not to be missed.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
The Sainsbury Gallery
2 February – 14 July 2019
vam.ac.uk | #DesignerofDreams