Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Christian Dior: Design of Dreams
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
February 8th 2019
Having heard so much about the Dior exhibition from Paris, I swore if it ever came to the V&A, I’d try my best to make the trip over to it. I’m still haunted by missing the Bowie exhibition (literally, the couple in front of me bagged the last tickets - devastated doesn’t even cover it) so as soon as knew I could plan the trip, I secured at ticket. Phew!
As expected, the crowds were mental but I knew I could just take my time and let the eager beavers push in while I was happy to hang back for a bit of space to truly appreciate what I was seeing. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Entering the first room you’re greeted by the Bar suit which, even if you couldn’t give two stitches about who Dior was, you’d know that suit. But this is just the beginning of a beautiful journey through Dior’s surprisingly short career and the great designers who have taken the reigns for him ever since.
My main take-aways from the exhibit were the cut of his garments. Immediately, I was drawn to the tiny details, clever dart placement and subtle lines that he seemed to master so effortlessly.
Now I’d be the first to hold my hands up and say that as a label, Dior is not one that I ever followed or took massive notice of but being honest, I never knew much about the major houses all round. Of course I knew the big Dior hitters from back in the day but I’d never even heard of Marc Bohan and I forgot that Galliano ever headed up the empire. While I recognised Emma Watson’s Raf Simmons suit, I never copped it was Dior until it was there in the ballroom. But having watched a documentary on Maria Graza Chiuiri’s debut collection as Creative Director, I started to take notice of Dior again. As I was making my way through the rooms, I found myself drawn to her work straight away, before anyone other pieces. There is a strength behind her designs that is delivered so delicately and gracefully it’s difficult to explain. She manages to draw on Dior’s spirit while making each piece distinctly her own.
The two rooms which grabbed me the most were The Ateliers where there was a floor to ceiling display of white toiles. I assume they are not originals but you could see pen marks, stitch lines and fit notes which gave you an insight into what goes into each garment. It made me appreciate the art of the toile. Yes it can be a pain in the arse doing one but it’s the foundation of making your design succeed. This room gave the humble toile the respect it deserves.
The Ballroom is truly is a case of leaving the best until last. Not only because of the garments on display but for the lighting. You think it’s just a pretty twinkly display until the lights go down and glitter is projected all across the room, bouncing off mirrors and enveloping you in a sense of intimacy. Suddenly, you can picture these gowns moving about in an18th century banquet hall or a modern Oscars party. They take on an entirely new dimension that will stay with me for a long time.