Christian Dior, Couturier du Rêve
The Most Comprehensive, Well-Curated Fashion Exhibition
I was recently in Paris for 72 hours on a sourcing trip, and after hearing from some well-trusted friends that the Christian Dior exhibition was a must-see, I decided to go wait in line on a Sunday morning for over two hours. It was completely worth the wait, as it was the most invigorating and inspiring fashion exhibition that I’ve seen. Not only was it visually stunning, but it gave a comprehensive historical background on Monsieur Dior’s life - from the artists he befriended and sold at his art gallery he established in 1928 (Dalí, Man Ray, Raoul Dufy), to his upbringing and ideas of beauty and creation. An entire room dedicated to accessories was especially spectacular, as was the room decorated in paper flowers surrounded by couture gowns made by Dior himself and those who followed in his footsteps: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons. Galliano has always been at the forefront of my mind as the Dior designer to succeed Christian Dior, as he was the couturier who was well known and established while I was coming to understand and appreciate fashion. He was a designer for my generation, not one who made clothes that were attainable for most, but one that was highly regarded, respected, and known as a true artist. Seeing his highly theatrical work in person was almost surreal, as his interpretation of the house was always full of fantasy and wonder. I was also reminded of Gianfranco Ferre’s creative and artistic direction at Dior, and one of my absolute favorite dresses was one he designed for the Spring/Summer 1992 Haute Couture collection, Éden. Made from printed floral organza, it’s a strapless gown that balloons in the back, billowing out to a short train. It is pure heaven, and my ultimate dream gown. The Raf Simons years were well on display, and his extraordinary eye for appliqué and embroidery is mesmerizing. The last room of the exhibition brought me to tears. Heavily embellished and embroidered gowns displayed on mannequins that were arranged on tiered platforms underneath a celestial-like ceiling that lit up was the true pièce de résistance. I couldn’t help the tears, and I felt so grateful that I was able to witness such a remarkable presentation.