Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A
The Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition has arrived at the V&A, in London. It’s a wonderful celebration of the French design house – and of entente cordiale ( which is much-needed around here, right now). This exhibition is based on the Dior show at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris but with an added section on the designer’s work in London (Christian Dior London was established in 1952), including exclusive pieces and British collaborations including Dents (gloves), Rayne (shoes), Lyle & Scott (knitwear). Centre stage is the dress designed for Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday; photographed by Cecil Beaton, below.
Situated in the new Sainsbury’s Gallery at the V&A, this was my first exhibition in this space and I found Designer of Dreams London more streamlined and easier to manage than the blockbuster French exhibition. As at Les Arts Decoratifs, the ‘colourama’ section shows brilliant doll-sized miniature designs, eye-popping outfits, elegant shoes and rainbow bright accessories set ablaze against a black backdrop; on the opposite wall, a series of magazine covers features Dior over the decades. The beautiful ‘garden area’ is here as are the sections dedicated to all the designers who have worked at the Parisian couture house – Dior died of a heart attack 10-years after launching his label. For me, John Galliano’s work is the standout. Absolutely stunning. Towards the end of the exhibition the glamour soars, with floor-to-ceiling displays of Dior tailoring and original toiles and the grand finale: a room full of jaw-droppingly beautiful ballgowns. It’s incredible to think that everything is made by hand. So much craftsmanship in one place.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is the V&A’s largest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – it’s on until 14 July 2019 and well worth a visit.