Considered as one of the world’s foremost couturiers, Christian Dior helped to revolutionize women's fashion in the aftermath of the gloomy World War II. This famous French fashion designer has engineered a new global revolution in the way women dress and feel about themselves with the most coveted Christian Dior ensembles back in the day, an essence which carries on till today across all the new product lines from the House of Dior, from Christian Dior handbags, Christian Dior watches or that surreal Dior perfume. And the latest unveiling of 30 years of fashion-masterpieces by Christian Dior at his namesake Parisian museum pays an apt tribute to the famed couturier and his glorious Maison.
The Christian Dior Museum in Granville, Normandy opened its latest exhibition this summer which runs through January 6, 2019. “Treasures of the Collection: 30 years of Acquisitions”, a sublime exhibit weaving in over three decades of the most ethereal designs by the Parisian couture house is a sight for sore eyes. The Villa-turned museum "Les Rhumbs", a delightful Belle Epoque style 19th century cliff top mansion overlooking gorgeous seascapes of the Channel Islands, is Christian Dior’s childhood home, and the only "Musée de France", French museum, dedicated to a couturier. Opening each year from May to October with a different temporary exhibition, the museum has been flaunting haute couture garments across its expansive three floors for over a decade now.
The pink and grey Les Rhumbs villa is hemmed in by its English-style landscape park, which was originally designed by Christian Dior’s mother, Madeleine, and later remodelled by Christian Dior himself consisting of a pergola with a reflection pool to create an outdoor living space. Today, it is one of the rare remaining artists’ gardens of the early 20th century. The adjoining rose garden is now a garden of fragrances, celebrating Christian Dior’s famous perfumes, offering perfume workshops on distinguishing different scents, extracting and developing scents, along with the main ingredients of a Christian Dior perfume and how a new Dior perfume is created across different olfactory families.
This 2018 exhibition is a first of its scale showcasing the full diversity of the Christian Dior Museum collection and taking visitors on a unique journey of the brand through its collections. Through an extensive collection of over sixty haute couture dresses designed over the years, as well as Dior perfumes, Dior accessories, numerous archival documents and photographs, along with personal possessions of Christian Dior, this exhibition promises to give each visitor an insight into the history of the iconic House of Dior which is steeped in luxury, grace and exquisiteness, through a visual journaling of Christian Dior’s personal background, his entrepreneurial heritage, his journey as a designer, and the global successes of the House of Dior’s creations to date.
This eponymous brand first showcased their collection over 70 years ago, just a year after Christian Dior opened his couture house in an elegant salon at 30, Avenue Montaigne, Paris in 1946. Dior's first collection, the revolutionary, full-skirted "New Look", became a runway sensation with models moseying in creamy jackets, tightly nipped at the waist and flowing into regal peplum flairs atop calf-grazing swirling skirts made with over 20 yards of luxurious wool.
To a post-war world still reeling under continued rationing and bored of dull plaid skirts, this iconic silhouette was downright shocking and popularly dubbed, “The Newlook”, a sweeping departure from post-war austerity, a revolution for the feminine silhouette and a promise of an elegant future. House of Dior focused beyond-Paris and set about building a fashion empire, establishing a Dior shop across New York, London, and Caracas. Today, Christian Dior dominates all product lines, which started with the very first perfumery spin-off from the brand, Miss Dior, named after Christian Dior’s sister, which once again revolutionized the world of fragrances with a line of utterly awesome fragrances and vibrant lipsticks. Miss Dior was just the first landmark in the Dior woman’s toilette line, followed by the new Dior perfume and equally popular Diorama and then the Dior fragrance, Diorissimo, and Dior by Christian Dior.
The shoe line and the cosmetics came post that, both of which enjoyed an equally high popularity. The shoe line by designer Roger Vivier crafted each shoe as splendid as a Dior ensemble. The accessories line with its range of Dior sunglasses and Christian Dior watches offered avant-garde styles while Christian Dior bags dominated the upscale leather goods segment. In 2016, the final launch of the Dior Home segment finally stitched together all of the brand’s offerings and lets their patrons literally eat, sleep and breathe Dior. Following through on Christian Dior’s famous words, “Living in a house that doesn't reflect who you are is akin to wearing someone else's clothes”, Dior Home offers a fabulous home décor collection featuring paper products including Dior-printed playing cards and notebooks; dinnerware including glass carafes, ceramic plates, and crystal glassware; and hand-embroidered bed linens, amongst other treasures.
Dior has charted a fascinating growth story in the last seven decades under the aegis of its six celebrated artistic directors, from Christian Dior’s first protégé Yves Saint Laurent whose legendary Trapeze Dress placed the House of Dior in a new league of Mark Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano and his revivalist style of the modern blended into historical fashion, Raf Simons and the house’s first woman designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri thereafter. The exhibition attempts to capture how Christian Dior’s spirit has endured thanks to the series of these remarkable designers who have become integral to continuing the couture house while bringing their own unique vision to the brand.
The “Treasures of the Collection: 30 Years of Acquisitions” exhibition also displays the brand’s distinctive design style, an eclectic mix of an avant-garde fashion forward style with a dollop of classicism. The exhibition is also geared to help visitors discover how the museum’s collections are put together, and how they continue to grow and live, all the while honouring the Christian Dior Museum’s several benefactors over the years and key players in the compilation of the heritage collection. The iconic chapters in Christian Dior's history are celebrated in this most extensive fashion exhibition to date, taking you on a lavish journey through Christian Dior’s treasured personal possessions, his scissors, his agenda, his watch and his lucky star. It lets you admire all the miniature reproductions of the 30 haute couture dresses on display, custom made for the occasion at Dior fashion house workshops. In totality, the exhibition not just a monumental tribute to the couturier's creativity, it is yet another compelling reason to plan that Parisian trip this year!