As my husband and I were planning our end of summer holiday to Ireland and Scotland, I read about a massive retrospective of Christian Dior taking place in Paris commemorating the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior. I could not bear the thought of being in Europe that close and not making an attempt to go. And go we did!
It was so exhilarating being in Paris! We arrived at the Musee de arts Decoratifs on a Friday morning, shortly after its opening and there was already a 45 minute wait to purchase tickets and get in. The exhibit opened in July and will continue until January, 2018. The exhibit is being billed as a lavish and comprehensive retrospective on the life and work of Dior and those who succeeded him. I’m here to say that the exhibit did not disappoint. If anything it could overwhelm you! It began as part biography and then took you through his life and work.
From the start, this was a most comprehensive exhibit beginning with setting the art scene at the time Dior became a young man and how he entered into Fashion. Christian Dior lived from 1905 -1957. He was a style changer from the beginning, with his first collection in 1947, which was christened “The New Look”. Dior style and sense of fashion influenced the shape of women’s clothes from a loose masculine style to a fitted bodice, nipped in waist, soft shoulder and sculpted hip jacket known as the “bar jacket”.
As we all know, the House of Dior continued after his sudden death in 1957. The retrospective doesn’t end with Dior’s death but continues with YSL’s time as an Assistant designer, documenting all the creative directors that came thereafter along with examples of the fashions during each of their tenure. The retrospective ends with the first female creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Pas non, this is not the end of the exhibit! Many current Dior designs are shown along with examples of spring 2017 fashions.
As I walked through the exhibit I was caught up with every twist and turn, wondering what I would see around the next corner! My personal two favorites that were thrilling to walk into were the floral room and the evening gown room and looked like a room out of Versailles!
The floral room was a tribute to Dior’s love of flowers. A Quote read ” After women, flowers are the most divine of creations”. He liked to design while sitting in his garden. The embroidery and embellishments on these dresses were also divine! Connected to this room was the history of his first perfume. Dior is quoted as saying “Perfume is the finishing touch to any dress” and so he created Miss Dior. On display was the Miss dior dress designed to advertise with the creation of the perfume.
The gown room looked like a vision from Versailles! These gowns were dripping with sequins and beads. It was amazing to consider the workmanship that went into the creation of these garments! The beading was incredible. The embroidery — gorgeous. Pictures can not do them justice.
There is so much to see I can not describe it all! However when entering the Musee looking to the right I was excited to see Diors Iconic “bar suit” (pictured above). I was familiar, but only in photos. according to the exhibit the suits name refers to the bar at the Plaza Athenee hotel next to the House of Dior, a favorite haunt for fashionable women at the time. Off to the side, nearing the end of the exhibit is a desk with two of Diors seamstresses giving an example of the pad stitching that goes into the construction of a jacket and the bar jacket (pictured left) opened up to see the construction. They would answer questions as well, however my French is tres petit at this time!
Before ending this wonderful day in Paris and the Dior exhibit it would not be complete without a walk to find Dior’s Salon at 30 rue Montaigne!