V&A Announces Huge Christian Dior Exhibition

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Spanning from 1947 to the present day Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will open at the V&A in February 2019 to trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers.

The exhibition will present over 500 objects with over 200 rare haute couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

Biggest Show Since McQueen

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams celebrates one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history,” said Tim Reeve, Deputy Director of the V&A. “Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris – as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty [2015] – will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain. The V&A holds one of the largest and most important fashion collections in the world, and we are delighted to be able to reveal highlights from our outstanding collection alongside those from the remarkable archive of the House of Dior, for this spectacular exhibition.”

The exhibition follows Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. However a new new section will explore the designer’s fascination with British culture from country houses and gardens to Savile Row suits to ocean liners like the Queen Mary.

Royal Treasures

A particular treasure on show will be a dress made for Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations on loan from the Museum of London. The exhibition will also bring to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954.

Dior’s vision of femininity will be shown through garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture House and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show.

“In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look’, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-War Parisian fashion industry,” said Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A.

“The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950s onwards. The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today. More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.”

Header image: Écarlate afternoon dress, Autumn-Winter 1955 Haute Couture collection. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo © Laziz Haman