March HL - page 8

WHAT’S ON HIGHLIGHTS
Those with an eye for fashion will no doubt
make the trip to London to see the couture
gowns made by Christian Dior and worn by
Princess Margaret, Margot Fonteyn and
Jennifer Lawrence which are now on
display at the V&A.
This is the largest and most comprehensive
exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House
of Dior – the museum’s biggest fashion
exhibition since
Alexander McQueen: Savage
Beauty
in 2015.
From 1947 to the present day,
Christian Dior:
Designer of Dreams
traces the history and
impact of one of the 20th century’s most
influential couturiers, and the six artistic
directors who have succeeded him, to
explore the enduring influence of the
fashion house.
Based on the major exhibition
Christian
Dior: Couturier du Re
̂
ve,
organised by the
Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the
exhibition is reimagined for the V&A.
A brand-new section explores, for the first
time, the designer’s fascination with British
culture.
Dior admired the grandeur of the great
houses and gardens of Britain, as well as
British-designed ocean liners, including the
Queen Mary. He also had a preference for
Savile Row suits. His first UK fashion show
took place at London’s Savoy
Hotel, and in 1952 he
established Christian Dior
London.
The exhibition investigates
Dior’s creative collaborations
with British manufacturers,
including Dents (gloves), Rayne
(shoes) Lyle & Scott (knitwear)
and Mitchel Maer (costume
jewellery).
It also focuses on his most
notable early British clients,
from author Nancy Mitford to
ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn.
A highlight will be the Christian
Dior dress worn by Princess
Margaret for her 21st birthday
celebrations, generously on loan
from the Museum of London
following conservation work.
The exhibition also brings to
life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged
in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes,
including Blenheim Palace in 1954, from
which several ensembles are now in the
V&A’s collection.
Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the
exhibition presents more than 500 objects,
with around 200 rare haute couture
garments shown alongside accessories,
fashion photography, film, vintage perfume,
original make-up, illustrations, magazines,
and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.
It also showcases highlights from the V&A’s
world-class couture collections, including the
iconic Bar Suit, gifted to the museum by the
House of Dior in 1960 with the help of Cecil
Beaton.
The exhibition highlights Dior’s total design
vision, encompassing 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.
From the daring designs of Yves Saint
Laurent to the rational style of Marc Bohan,
the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the
exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism
of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s
feminist vision of fashion, the exhibition
shows how each successive artistic director
has stayed true to Dior’s vision, while
bringing their own creative sensibilities to
the house.
The exhibition
Christian Dior: Designer of
Dreams
runs until July 14. Tickets from
£20. All concessions: £15. Visit
/ for further information.
Christian Dior:
Designer of dreams
Christian Dior by John
Galliano. Haute Couture,
AutumnWinter 2004
Photo © Laziz Hamani
Christian Dior with model Sylvie,
circa 1948. Photo courtesy of
Christian Dior
Princess Margaret in
Dior. Photo ©Cecil
Beaton (1951)
HENLEY
life
| MARCH 2019
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