The evening gown from the Ailée, Autumn-Winter 1948 -1949 haute couture collection.


Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues. Beginning Nov. 25, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto will present “Christian Dior,” a new exhibition looking at the founder’s tenure from 1947 to 1957.

Presented by Holt Renfrew, the exhibition is curated by Dr. Alexandra Palmer, author of the 2009 book “Dior: A New Look, a New Enterprise,” who serves as the museum’s costume curator.

“It is safe to say that few people have had as great an influence on shaping the modern aesthetic as Christian Dior,” asserted Josh Basseches, director and ceo of the Royal Ontario Museum. “His standing among contemporary fashion designers remains central to this day. As the House of Dior celebrates its milestone anniversary, there is no better time for the ROM to share our extraordinary collection of Dior couture with audiences.”

The exhibition features 40 designs and is arranged by day (coats, suits and day dresses); late afternoon to early evening (cocktails and dinner dresses), and grand occasion (ball and formal gowns). Many of the pieces were worn by prominent Toronto socialites from the time period.

“Christian Dior’s revolutionary fashions captured the excitement of postwar modernity and have stood the test of time,” Palmer said. “This was made possible with the work of numerous industries and artisans who produced extraordinary ribbons, beads, sequins and embroideries that Dior incorporated into his dresses with the assistance of his imaginative patternmakers, tailors and seamstresses. These contributions resulted in striking, elegant, and poised fashions that accommodated all women for all times of day and night.”

The exhibition is scheduled to run through March 18.

Artifact Photograph

The evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection.  Brian Boyle

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