May 22, 2017
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Paris museum celebrates 70 years of Dior

May 22, 2017

The French capital's Musée des Arts Décoratifs is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Dior fashion house with "Christian Dior, couturier du rêve" [Christian Dior, Dream Couturier], July 5, 2017, to January 7, 2018 -- an exhibition exploring 70 years of design, creation, inspiration and flying the flag for French fashion worldwide. The show is a chronological and themed exhibition that explores the world of the French fashion house and its founder.

Christian Dior, Junon gown, Haute Couture, Fall-Winter 1949, Milieu du siècle line Long crinoline evening dress embroidered with sequins by Rébé. Paris, Dior Héritage.©Les Arts Décoratifs / Nicholas Alan Cope

This retrospective, staged with the support of Dior, features more than 300 haute couture gowns, accessories and fashion creations dating from 1947 to the present day, as well as paintings, furniture, sculptures and objets d'art reflecting Christian Dior's earlier career running an art gallery and his passion for art. The show also features a multitude of documents, including illustrations, sketches, photos and letters. 

In February 1947, Christian Dior caused a sensation with his first ever "New Look" spring/summer collection, taking the female silhouette in a whole new direction. This more feminine shape, with a marked waist and accentuated busts, saw female curves celebrated and flattered by the couturier's designs. Certain designs featured in the exhibition soon became key pieces of the womenswear wardrobe and iconic designs, such as the Bar suit and the circle skirt.

Before looking at Christian Dior's creativity, inspirations and the history of the fashion house, the exhibition opens with an overview of the legendary couturier's life, from his childhood in Granville, Normandy, to his early days in haute couture. Parallels with couture are also explored since Granville and its gardens, the designer's passion for art and theater, and his travels were all constant sources of influence in his work.

The show looks back over 70 years of exceptional couture, from the young designer's earliest creations to the latest designs from current Dior creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, who took the helm of the fashion house in 2016.

Six galleries look at Christian Dior's heritage through the work of the creative directors that succeeded the designer after his death in 1957, with work by Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The exhibition also showcases the fashion house's techniques and craftsmanship, and charts the evolution of Dior style from 1947 to the present day. The show even spills out into the museum's nave, where a selection of sumptuous eveningwear creations turn the space into a glamorous ballroom.

Most of the works on show are from the Dior Héritage collection, with additional loans from museums including the Musée Arts Décoratifs and Palais Galliera in Paris, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.

"Christian Dior, couturier du rêve" [Christian Dior, Dream Couturier] runs July 5, 2017, to January 7, 2018, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France.

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