Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams also shows off the work of his successors such as John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri

The golden age of haute couture may be decades past, but – thanks to the success of shows such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – we are now living in the golden age of the blockbuster fashion exhibition. Even in that context, it is unusual to see a show of such ambition as the 32,000 sq ft homage to France’s best-known couturier – Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams – which opens at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on Wednesday.

The exhibition marks 70 years of the house of Dior and begins simply with a classic gown from 1947. Wasp-waisted with a full, pleated skirt, in so-called “satan red”, it stands out like a traffic light against the gallery’s black lacquered walls. This is Dior’s “New Look” – the silhouette that brought the designer instant fame and ushered in a new, post-war ideal of hourglass femininity.

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