Opening in February 2019, the exhibition will be a re-imagining of one held at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris last year.
When it comes to fashion exhibitions, no one does it quite like London’s Victoria & Albert museum. The Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty display in 2015 was the museum’s best-selling exhibition to date.
Now it’s the turn of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which will be the largest retrospective of the French designer’s work ever seen on British shores. Think incredible couture moments, regal portraits and a deep dive into one of the most recognisable fashion houses in the world.
The exhibition is a re-imagining of one held in Paris last year at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, but with one major difference – an inclusion of all things British relating to Dior.
‘Dior in Britain’ is one of 11 sections of the exhibition that will be showcased in the V&A’s Sainsbury Gallery. As museum curator Oriole Cullen explains, Christian Dior was enamoured with the British way of life – from the country’s stately homes (particularly Blenheim Palace) to the royal family, even citing his love for our food. A highlight of the British section of the exhibition is a one-shouldered, embroidered tulle dress created for Princess Margaret by Dior for her 21st birthday (pictured top).
Other parts of the exhibition trace the beginnings of the house with the invention of Dior’s famed ‘Bar Suit’ – a post-WW2 revelation that was part of his ‘New Look’ aesthetic.
Per Cullen: “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.”
Another section showcases how runways took place in the Fifties and Sixties, when Dior elected to present his collections at London’s Savoy hotel.
As well as providing a view of the house under Christian Dior himself, the exhibition will also explore the history of the house of Dior under subsequent creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons and most recently Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The V&A has dug deep into its own archives, and researchers have spent huge amounts of time tracking down some of the rarest Dior pieces for this beautiful exhibition.
Overall, the exhibition will play host to over 200 rare couture garments, as well as personal belongings, sketches, accessories and photographs.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams opens 2 February 2019 at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Find out more and buy tickets at vam.ac.uk
Images: Courtesy of Christian Dior