Woven; A glimpse into The V&A’s Christian Dior exhibition

By Sophie Field

The V&A will host one of the largest and most comprehensive fashion retrospectives on the House of Dior to go on exhibition in the U.K next year, from the 2nd February 2019 up until the 14th July 2019.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is a re-imagining of last year’s exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier de Rêve at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, curated by Olivier Gabet and Florence Muller, but with almost 50 per cent new material.  Across 500 objects, rarities, garments, incredible installations as well as an important inclusion of part of the story, seemingly untold before now, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams aims to immerse you truly and fully in the world of everything Dior.

1 (1)Christian Dior with model Sylvie, circa 1948 Courtesy of Christian Dior

The V&A team, led by fashion and textiles curator Oriole Cullen and set designer Nathalie Crinière, will expose not only the life and work of Christian Dior, from the fashion house’s beginnings through to its defining looks, designers and influences but also a very special exploration of Dior in Britain.

Dior was famously enamoured with the British and their culture, admiring the grandeur of their houses, gardens, flowers and ocean liners. This section of the exhibition aims to bring light to Dior’s creative collaborations with British manufacturers, fashion shows in British stately homes like Blenheim Palace as well as expose its early British clients; Nancy Mitford, Margot Fonteyn and most notably Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday dress.

1Princess Margaret (left), with the Duchess of Marlborough behind, presents Christian Dior with a scroll entitling him to Honorary Life Membership of the British Red Cross after the presentation of his Winter Collection at Blenheim Palace on 3rd November 1954 © Popperfoto / Getty Images

With the exhibition’s breadth of work crossing 11 different sections, prepare to discover the early life of the designer himself, Christian Dior, as well as exciting and beautiful installations highlighting the influence of flowers on the designer in The Garden, a cabinet of curiosity for The Ateliers, a kaleidoscopic display for a Diorama of accessories as well as a fantastical display in The Ballroom.

1 (1)Pérou short evening dress, Autumn-Winter 1954 Haute Couture collection, H line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Gift of Cecil Beaton Photo © Laziz Haman

1 (2)Écarlate afternoon dress, Autumn-Winter 1955 Haute Couture collection, Y line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London Photo © Laziz Hamani

Expect rarities and revolutionary pieces in the New Look, Dior Line, Historicism, Dior in Britain and Designers for Dior sections.  The exhibition includes a lucky star, that Christian Dior carried with him throughout the entirety of his life. An incredibly superstitious man, Dior found this five-pointed star on the street outside the British Embassy in Paris. He met with Marcel Boussac that same night, an important meeting leading to the eventual financing of Dior’s fashion house by the entrepreneur. It was hard for Dior not to see a parallel between the two events and to count his lucky stars.

The exhibition aims to represent every step in the journey in the tale of Dior. Encompassing a wide range of 500 varying objects, across 11 sections, including 200 rare couture garments, original perfumes, make-up, illustrations, magazines and prised personal possessions; the exhibition true to its title hopes to throw you into the dreamy world of everything Dior.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is at the V&A from 2 February -14 July 2019


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