By now, we’re acclimated to seeing a cosmos of stars cutting Dior — from Rihanna in a affecting taffeta covering and strapless dress at the Cannes Blur Festival, to Charlize Theron in a Dior bra top and mini at the Berlin premiere of Atomic Blonde, to aboriginal adult Melania Trump cutting a archetypal red Dior accouterment on her contempo appointment to Paris.
But as an ballsy new building exhibition adulatory the appearance house’s 70th ceremony shows, Hollywood has been allotment of Dior's success aback day one.
The exhibition, “Christian Dior: Artist of Dreams,” accessible through January 2018 at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, traces the history of the appearance abode both chronologically and thematically, through the seven arch designers who accept formed there — Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri — all of whom able their own celebrity fan clubs.
The appearance is a must-see, demography over two astronomic wings and assorted floors of the building with abundant and affecting displays, including Dior's own 3D flower- and ivy-embroidered gowns advantaged by Grace Kelly and Eva Peron; Bohan's prim '60s-era frocks for Elizabeth Taylor; Galliano's haute absolute (and sometimes hobo-inspired) pieces, which were the acme of appearance in the '90s; Simons' modernist chopped-off ballgowns and trouser apparel beat by Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence; and Chiuri's feminist-inflected designs beat by Rihanna and others today.
The displays do a nice job of archetype Dior's claimed passions (gardening, theater, alien travel) through his own work, and that of consecutive designers, too. And they additionally appearance how the abode has been allure altercation and blame the envelope of appearance from the beginning, continued afore Chiuri's headline-grabbing $710 "We Should All Be Feminists" T-shirts.
Upon entering the galleries, the aboriginal affair to annoyance my absorption was a absolute photograph of women agitation Christian Dior's 1947 New Look. The designer's aperture salvo, the New Look accumulating fabricated a appearance account about the end of World War II restrictions, featuring skirts (inspired by the appearance of a flower) so abundant that some women accounted them wasteful. The designer's accession in Chicago in 1947 was alike greeted by women with banners exclaiming "Mr. Dior, we abominate dresses to the floor," a photograph reveals.
The exhibition tries to bang home the acceptation and amount of handcrafted couture in our time of disposable appearance by agreement absolute arrangement makers, cutting acceptable white coats, in a branch on armpit to authenticate for museum-goers what they do and why it costs as abundant as six abstracts for a distinct dress.
The arcade bout concludes with an absorbing illustration of gowns beat by Hollywood stars through the years, including Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Portman and abounding added abode muses.
I sat bottomward with the exhibition's co-curator Florence Muller to allocution about how Christian Dior bedeviled on the abeyant of brilliant ability from the alpha and was aggressive by Hollywood storytelling throughout his career. Here are six takeaways.
1) Christian Dior was a blur apparel artist afore he was a appearance designer.
"Beginning in his childhood, he admired apparel balls," said Muller. "In Granville, the burghal area he was born, there was a acclaimed carnival, and he admired to dress his friends, his family, he admired to transform himself, too. He did 10 French movies afore he alike opened his own couture house," she said. "Many of them were about age-old times with absolute details; it was training to advance the abstraction of creating a dream in fashion."
2) He had celebrity admirers already aback he opened his couture house.
"When he opened his abode in 1947, already Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich were there and ordered abounding dresses immediately," Muller said, acquainted that Dior had advised several collections for couturiers Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong afore arresting out on his own. "His appearance was absolute for stars."
3) His appearance was abreast by his assignment in apparel design.
With the New Look, "he brought aback celebrating femininity, emphasizing the waist and achievement with padding, which was a change afterwards the adult styles of wartime," the babysitter explained. "It was the affectionate of affair women were acclimated to accomplishing for the awning in Hollywood. It's not by adventitious that somebody so accustomed with apparel architecture would do this."
4) He knew how to put on a (runway) show.
"His aerodrome shows were organized in absurd appearance with quiet and wow moments. He alleged it the 'Trafalgar phenomenon' [after the Battle of Trafalgar], and generally acclimated music and the blush red to accomplish a splash," the babysitter said.
5) Dior was acclaimed in America, too.
In 1957, he became the aboriginal French clothier to be on the awning of Time magazine, Muller explained, and in 1947, he was the aboriginal to accept the celebrated Neiman Marcus Appearance Award from the Dallas-based administration abundance and appearance arbiter.
"He came to L.A. and did a bout like a celebrity," she said, acquainted that the artist catholic to Hollywood afterwards accepting the Neiman Marcus Award. Dior accouterment and apparel accept been featured in added than 100 movies, including the 1956 blur The Ambassador's Daughter, in which Olivia de Havilland takes a about-face as a appearance model, a role she accomplished for with the advice of Dior's abode models.
Eventually, he was so in appeal from filmmakers that he didn't accept time to architecture apparel abnormally for anniversary blur and aloof provided apparel from his shows, Muller said.
6) He was captious about who wore his clothes.
Dior was constant accompany with Marlene Dietrich, and advised her apparel in several films, including Stage Fright (1950) and No Highway in the Sky (1951). Grace Kelly was addition important client, whom Bohan broke to advice accessible the aboriginal Baby Dior abundance in 1967 in Paris. But some celebrities (Muller wouldn't name names) Dior himself angry his adenoids up at, because them not big abundant stars to abrasion his brilliant designs.
If you can't accomplish it to Paris, the book Christian Dior: Artist of Dreams is accessible online.