LONDON MOMENT: The Victoria & Albert Museum is shifting the spotlight onto Christian Dior for its next major fashion exhibition, opening in February.
The London museum plans to adapt “Christian Dior: Couturier of Dreams,” the popular show that opened last year at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, for a U.K. audience. The exhibition will be the largest Dior exhibition held in the country and the V&A’s biggest fashion exhibition since “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.”
The collaboration between the French house and the museum was announced during a cocktail held Sunday evening at the British embassy in Paris in the presence of Dior chief executive officer Pietro Beccari and Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s collections, who was set to present her fall haute couture collection the following day.
The show will trace the history of the house and the impact of Christian Dior, and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. A new section will be added that explores Christian Dior’s relationship with Britain, from his fascination with English gardens, Savile Row and British ocean liners, to his circle of London-based clients, including Nancy Mitford and Margot Fonteyn.
“Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris — as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ — will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain,” said Tim Reeve, the museum’s deputy director and chief operating officer.
The show will also aim to breathe new life into some of the couturier’s most memorable British shows from the first one held at the Savoy Hotel to the presentation at Blenheim Palace in 1954.
A Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations — on loan from the Museum of London — will also be on display, alongside Bar Suits from the V&A’s archive and more than 200 couture garments.
Oriole Cullen, fashion and textiles curator at the V&A, added that the new show will aim to celebrate the ongoing cultural and historical relevance of the work of both Christian Dior and his successors.
“In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look,’ which reinvigorated the post-war Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognized Dior’s important contribution to design history early on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the Fifties onward. More than 70 years after its founding, the exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior.”
The exhibition will run until July 2019, and Beccari said he hoped it would do even better than the Paris show, which attracted a record-breaking 708,000 visitors during its six-month run. “We hope to break the record at the V&A,” he said.