V&A to stage largest Christian Dior exhibition in the UK

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has confirmed that it will stage the “most comprehensive” exhibition on Christian Dior ever seen in the UK, spanning from 1947 to the present day, examining the impact of the couturier and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him.

Opening in February 2019, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, will mark the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015, and will be based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris that was a huge success.

The V&A states that the exhibition will be “reimagined” and will include a brand-new section exploring the designer’s fascination with British culture, as Dior was known to have admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary.

This section of the exhibition will investigate Dior’s creative collaborations with influential British manufacturers, and his most notable British clients, from author Nancy Mitford to ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn.

V&A to stage largest Christian Dior exhibition in the UK

A highlight of the new British section will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London, as well as bringing to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954.

Tim Reeve, deputy director and chief operating officer of the V&A, said in a press release: “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams celebrates one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history. Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris – as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain.

“The V&A holds one of the largest and most important fashion collections in the world, and we are delighted to be able to reveal highlights from our outstanding collection alongside those from the remarkable archive of the House of Dior, for this spectacular exhibition.”

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams to open at V&A in 2019

V&A to stage largest Christian Dior exhibition in the UK

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, led by curator Oriole Cullen and designer Nathalie Crinière, will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential fashion houses, utilising the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition will present more than 500 objects, including more than 200 rate haute couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

Key highlights from the exhibition will include Dior’s vision of femininity, encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances, as well as inspiration ranging from horticulture to global travel and 18th century decorative arts that defines the House of Dior’s aesthetic.

As well as focusing on Dior himself, the exhibition will also showcase the impact of the fashion house’s other artistic directors including the daring designs of Yves Saint Laurent, the rational style of Marc Bohan, the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of fashion.

V&A to stage largest Christian Dior exhibition in the UK

Oriole Cullen, fashion and textiles curator at the V&A, added: “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. The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950s onwards.

“The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today. More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.”

The Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition will run from February 2 – July 14, 2019 at the V&A. Tickets will go on sale in autumn 2018.

Images: courtesy of the V&A

Main Image - Yves Saint Laurent in front of Christian Dior London, November 11, 1958 - Popperfoto/Getty Images

Image 2: Princess 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 November 3, 1954 - Popperfoto / Getty Images

Image 3: Christian Dior with model Lucky, circa 1955 - courtesy of Christian Dior

Image 4: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, circa 1948 - courtesy of Christian Dior


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