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August 13, 2019

An Exhibition At The V&A Explores Christian Dior’s Fascination With British Culture

All Photographs by Jamie Stoker

Showcasing 70 years of stunning formal evening wear, the exhibition also illustrates the exquisite skill and craftsmanship of the ateliers and successive designers from the House of Dior

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, at the V&A’s The Sainsbury Gallery, London, until July 14, traces the history and impact, since 1947, of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, this one is reimagined for the V&A and includes a new section that explores, for the first time, the designer’s fascination with British culture; his early collaborations with British manufacturers like Dents (gloves), Rayne (shoes), Lyle and Scott (knitwear) and Mitchel Maer (costume jewellery). 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, of which several ensembles are now in the V&A’s collection.

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, Designer of Dreams presents over 500 objects, with more than 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.

Couture gowns worn by Princess Margaret, British ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn and actor Jennifer Lawrence are on display, bringing to the V&A an in-depth and wide-ranging study of unique haute couture garments. Showcasing 70 years of stunning formal evening wear, the exhibition illustrates the exquisite skill and craftsmanship of the ateliers and successive designers from the House of Dior. To quote Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A: “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. 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.”

Verve reveals, in pictures, the incredible skill of the haute couture ateliers and the amazing savoir faire of the artisans….

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