By  on March 18, 2010

PARIS — The Christian Dior Museum is having a ball.

Harking back to more glamorous, festive times for its next exhibition, dubbed “Le Grand Bal Dior,” more than 50 Dior ball gowns will go on display at the historic site, based in Christian Dior’s childhood home in Granville, France.

Set to run from May 13 to Sept. 26, the show traces the history of the ball from the 17th century through today and explores the house of Dior’s ties with the tradition. Designed by Frédéric Beauclair, the first section covers Dior’s sources of inspiration for his spectacular ball gowns, including Kees Van Dongen’s painting, “Self-Portrait as Neptune,” from 1922, which inspired the late designer’s first ballgown.

Dior participated in a number of grand balls during Europe’s post-World War II period, including the Bal des Artistes in 1956, where he dressed up as a dandy, and Charles de Beistegui’s mythic 1951 ball in Venice’s Palazzo Labia. A number of elaborate gowns and costumes designed by Dior for the latter occasion will form part of the display, along with archive accessories, scents, paintings and photographs.

The second section of the exhibition covers various Dior-related ball events since the Eighties, including the house’s Bal des Artistes haute couture collection, designed by John Galliano, and the lavish fete held in July 2007 at the Château de Versailles to mark the house’s 60th anniversary.

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