During a recent trip to Paris, we had the opportunity to visit the first compelling retrospective on Christian Dior who passed away in 1957.
Billed as the largest fashion exhibition ever staged by the Art Décoratifs museum, the show, which runs until Jan. 7, 2018 features more than 300 haute couture gowns from the seven designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano and Raf Simons.)
Christian Dior was born in Granville, a seaside town on the coast of Normandy, France. He was the second of five children born to Maurice Dior, a wealthy fertilizer manufacturer (the family firm was Dior Frères), and his wife, formerly Madeleine Martin. He had four siblings: Raymond (father of Françoise Dior), Jacqueline, Bernard, and Catherine Dior. When Christian was about five years old, the family moved to Paris, but still returned to the Normandy coast for summer holidays.
Dior's family had hoped he would become a diplomat, but Dior was artistic and wished to be involved in art. To make money, he sold his fashion sketches outside his house for about 10 cents each. In 1928, Dior left school and received money from his father to finance a small art gallery, where he and a friend sold art by the likes of Pablo Picasso. Three years later, after the death of Dior's mother and brother and a financial disaster in the family’s fertilizer business, during the Great Depression, that resulted in his father losing control of Dior Frères, the gallery had to be closed.
The show is a stunning display of the creative process, history, and multiple phases of Christian Dior's inspiration. Debuting in the 1930's along with Salvator Dali or Braque and many modernists featured in the exhibit, the visitor walks along Christian Dior's mind and his vision of women; A certain idea of French Couture constantly reinvented by its successive art directors, from 21-year old, Yves Saint Laurent to controversial John Galliano or Heidi Sliman. The retrospective will successively take you through the gowns, the perfume, the sketchbooks, along with reference inspirations for some of the dresses to finally open up in the main gallery transformed into an immersive light show experience bringing together the grandiose feeling of Versailles and Hollywood. Don't miss it is our advice. L+B