Christian Dior: “My dresses make a princess of every woman”

Published on 17.07.2017
The year 1947 saw the first fashion show in Paris showcasing the work of a certain Christian Dior. Christened the 'New Look', the French designer’s radical dresses signalled the birth of a new era for the female silhouette. In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of that landmark event, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris is dedicating a special exhibition to the house of Dior. Until 7 January 2018.

Christian Dior : Couturier du rêve

Christian Dior : Couturier du rêve

Christian Dior - Couturier du rêve

Michal Pudelka, robe Baiser rouge, collection haute couture printemps-été 2017, modèle Ruth Bell

Christian Dior : Couturier du rêve

Roger viollet, robe Soirée brillante, collection haute couture automne-hiver 1955 (ligne Y), présentée lors de l’inauguration de l’exposition « Grands ébénistes et menuisiers parisiens du XvIIIe siècle », Pavillon de Marsan, Paris, 30 novembre 1955

Christian Dior : Couturier du rêve

Eugene Kammerman, le mannequin Renée Breton défilant dans le grand salon du 30, avenue Montaigne, Paris (1953)

Christian Dior : Couturier de rêve

Christopher Polk, Jennifer Lawrence recevant l’Oscar de la meilleure actrice pour son rôle dans le film Happiness Therapy (2013)

The name Christian Dior (1905-1957) will forever be associated with an inimitable sense of luxury à la française; the master designer who, in only ten years from 1947 to 1957, revolutionised the worlds of designer fashion and ready-to-wear clothing. Dior was initially destined for a career as an architect, and had already opened an art gallery in Paris before he trained as a dress maker under the tutelage of Lucien Lelong. Each of these experiences sharpened his eye and helped to shape his demanding aesthetic tastes. In the post-war climate of deprivation and rationing, Christian Dior became obsessed by the idea of bringing a sense of joy, elegance and beauty back into the lives of women.

With their defined hips, full skirts and understated shoulders, the trademark features of Dior's renowned femme-fleurs would come to serve as the image incarnate of Parisian luxury. Dior's wedding dresses – veritable sculptures to the art of dress-making, with their net embroidery, sheath draperies and lace flourishes – are on display in all their majesty. The exhibition reaches its climax in the sumptuous surroundings of the museum’s nave, specially decorated for the occasion as a ballroom and serving as the setting for a series of Dior’s most extravagant evening gowns, many of which are being exhibited in Paris for the first time. Among them can be found several that were designed for the celebrities – including Princess Grace of Monaco, Lady Diana, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence – who have for many years played such an important role in creating the air of mystique that surrounds this unique fashion house.

As the heads of the men's clothing and jewellery collections respectively, the contemporary feel of the work of designers Kris van Assche and Victoire de Castellane serves as proof that Christian Dior's legacy remains as relevant as ever. Meanwhile, six consecutive galleries are dedicated to the different artistic directors who have followed in the master’s footsteps, a journey through time that commences with the famous “Bar” suit, one of the New Look’s most iconic garments.

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