When Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition opened its doors in Victoria & Albert Museum last February, the online tickets were gone in a matter of time. It got around two or three weeks for the whole exhibition to sell out online. Isn’t this a sign of a not to be missed exhibition? Guess so.
Even though I couldn’t buy a ticket, I was determined to visit the exhibition and my sole choice was to buy a yearly membership, since members can enter all the exhibitions even if they are sold out. So, I booked my flight tickets, made my reservation in a hotel room and waited until the date of my trip. It was three weeks ago that I put myself in the plane and visited London for the retrospective. Bought the membership, waited on the line and entered inside hoping that this would be a note-worthy experience.
Running until September, the exhibition opens with the ‘Bar Suit’ consisting of a jacket in natural coloured tussore silk, and wool crêpe and taffeta skirt. Being one of the most popular models in Dior’s first collection, this piece stands as an emblem of the New Look.
Staged in the museum’s Sainsbury Gallery, the Dior retrospective begins in 1905 (the designer’s birth year) and brings us right to the present, while celebrating Dior’s relationship with Britain.
The exhibition is divided in thematic sections (travel, flowers, fragrances, the artistic directors, etc) and features more than 500 pieces. One of my personal favourites is a room dedicated to the Dior atelier, where you can feel the magic of the craft masters. The bare designs stand as an apparent reminder of true talent and hard work that is behind every haute couture piece.
Each of Dior’s six artistic directors (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri) is equally honoured in a designers’ gallery, but there is no mention of their personal history – I would love to learn more about Marc Bohan, artistic director of the house from 1961 until 1989. Their work is displayed next to Dior originals proving that all of them interpreted his aesthetics and had a significant role in the fashion house’s evolution.
Leaving the exhibition, I had a feeling that Victoria and Albert Museum’s Dior retrospective, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is solely focused on the design of the fashion powerhouse. It may be enough for newcomers who don’t care about its history, but something is missing. I felt like I exited a bubble, a magical world where I could enjoy breath-taking gowns and haute couture delights. Definitely I’ve got no regret visiting the exhibition (spent around three hours there and absolutely enjoyed myself), but if you are new on Dior’s history, this is only the introduction.
Have you visited the retrospective? What do you think?
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Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, V&A, on until Sunday, 1 September 2019 – site
Thank you for being here. Take care and see you soon! – Angelina