October 25, 2017 — April 25, 2018
The new exhibition in Fashion Museum is devoted to the history of the Christian Dior Fashion House and the 70th anniversary of the famous New Look collection. The exhibition features many costumes from the collection of fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev – costumes created by Christian Dior and his successors, Yves Saint-Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano, all created while they were creative directors of the Christian Dior Fashion House. Exhibition also includes costumes of the 1940’s and costumes created in other famous fashion houses of the 1950’s, including those by Pierre Balmain.
The Dior exhibition provides a vivid insight into the fashion trends of the second half of the 20th century. It also explains how Dior – sometimes called the fashion dictator and the pin tyrant – played such a significant role in shaping them. Visitors are able to see the changes that took place in the late 1940’s and early 50’s and understand the inspiration of Christian Dior from his professional way of working in the Robert Piguet Fashion House to the creation of his own fashion empire. The exhibition also demonstrates how the “Dior style”, combining his excellent sense of line, the “architecture” of clothes, details and nuances of colour became the guiding light for the Fashion House even after his death.
Christian Dior, the great couturier, wrote in his autobiography entitled “Christian Dior and I” (Christian Dior et moi): “Fashion is always right. Its truth is deeply rooted and neither fashion designers nor fashion lovers are sure of the reasons why.” These words can be easily applied to the famous “Corole” collection of Dior in 1947, which was later called the New Look. Even Dior himself did not know the kind of stir these costumes would create in the wake of war-torn Europe... “First of all, I wanted to demonstrate perfect work. I did not intend to cause a fashion revolution; I wanted to fulfil my creative intentions faithfully. However, it so happened that my small act was like a bomb exploding in our superficial era.”
Christian Dior's “explosion” came at the right time – women all over the world had been waiting for something new and appropriate for the time. The silhouette offered by Dior with a slim waistline, accentuated chest, low shoulder straps and wide skirts which resembled petals met all these requirements. The fashion house became famous in an instant – immediately after the first collection being shown to the public. The elegant costumes which highlighted the shape of women and recalled the luxury of the pre-war years when Paris was the fashion capital of the world were admired by some. However, others were offended and angered by the style. Some did not like the way that women were being forced back to corsets again; others found it too expensive-looking and elitist for grey war-torn France and were unhappy that these clothes were made from so many metres of fabric. Nevertheless, thousands of seamstresses around the world copied Dior's silhouette in the best way they could. Dior was both hated and adored; everybody talked about him everywhere.
At the same time, Christian Dior was looking to the past where he found inspiration in childhood memories, gardens, paintings, interiors, silhouettes of historical costumes while also looking to the future. It was not for nothing that the fashion designer described his first collection with the words: “Youth, hope, the future!” He wanted to see women as flowers again – elegant, sophisticated, feminine and happy...
Dior succeeded in this vision. The romantic and nostalgic silhouette he thought of in 1947 set the tone for fashion for the whole of the 1950’s. Dior is a symbol: a symbol of the century, the age and finally a symbol of femininity. For many Dior is still associated with the sophistication of Paris and the highlights of fashion. As the fashion historian and collector Alexandre Vassiliev said with laconic precision: “There are three inseparable concepts in the fashion world: elegance, taste and Dior.”
individual, unguided tour 7€
pupils, students and seniors 5€
guided tour 20€
children under 5 years – free admission