Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Museum

23rd June 2019

When I missed the Christian Dior show at Paris’ Musee des Arts Decoratifs, I was really bumped and sad.  Then came V&A’s announcement that they will host Dior exhibition in London.  Needless to say, I got very excited. 

Since its opening day in February, I have visited the exhibition four times already (I know, crazy). Luckily, I do have an V&A membership (if you are living in London, something I highly recommend obtaining). I love everything about the V&A.

The Dior exhibition really exceeds your expectations. Taking you from 1947 to the present day, it explores the influence of the fashion house as well as Dior’s relationship with Britain. The exhibition displays his love affair with London. To wit the ivory embellished off-shoulder gown designed for Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday, photographed by Cecil Beaton. The exhibition hosts over 500 items including 200 rare Haute Couture dresses alongside accessories, fashion photography and film, illustrations, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

Dior was born in 1905 in Normandy, the son of a wealthy industrialist. He shared his mother’s love of gardens. He was passionate about architecture and designing fancy clothes for his friends. in 1928, with the backing of his family, he opened an art gallery. A few years later, family fortune collapsed and he turned into fashion drawing to earn his living. He established his own house in 1946, at 30 Avenue Montaigne, with only three ateliers and a staff of 85. The House of Dior grew rapidly beyond Paris. The exhibition takes you through Dior’s early designs, to his love affair with Britain, to the different designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri) who took over the fashion house since his death in 1957.

Every room stands out from the next one and sets a very different mood. I loved the ‘The Ateliers’ room, which is absolutely white. Once a design was decided upon, it was taken to the ateliers to be turned into a toile. The prototype garment, usually made in cotton fabric, was designed to be constructed and shaped to its design. Specialist skills such as embroidery and beading were commissioned from artisans and craftspeople. In this room, you can see these and watch videos to discover how each garment was constructed, It’s absolutely mesmerising.

There is more than dresses to Dior’s name. Perfumes, bags, shoes, make up, costume jewellery, hats and accessories are an integral part of the Dior Fashion House too. This has been displayed in a miniature room where you can see many of the designs in tiny shapes displayed together in colour coordination. Wall of fame, If you want to call that, magazine covers hanged on one one side of this room.

The exhibition ends with couture dresses designed and worn by celebrities. Each piece could be a fairytale princess dress. You really want to spend a bit of time here . Study the art and imagine the hours it must have taken to build each piece. Of course, also enjoy the disco-like lights changing.

I tried to create a photo gallery of some of my highlights in this post, but I think this is something you really want to see for yourself if you can get a ticket. I want to show you every single dress here as they are truly a work of art. Due to its popularity, the exhibition has been have extended until the 1st of September. There is still time, don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

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