Sneak Peak of 2019 V&A Exhibit, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Friday 19 October 2018
Words Katie Smith

On the 2nd of February 2019, the Victoria and Albert Museum will open a massive Christian Dior exhibit. As told by the V&A, ‘spanning from 1947 to the present day, this exhibition will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, exploring the enduring influence of the fashion house, and Dior’s relationship with Britain.’ Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will be the V&A’s second-largest fashion exhibition, behind 2015’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

The experience will be spread across eleven theatrical sections, each one examining the monumental designs which have carried the house throughout the lives of Dior and his six successors. The exhibition will grant visitors access to more than 500 objects from which Dior drew his inspiration, as well as 200 rare garments. In addition, the V&A will house a number of Christian Dior’s personal belongings, photographs, and sketches.

Curator Oriole Cullen says of Dior’s impact, ‘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 influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era.’

Among the most highly anticipated rooms of the exhibit include ‘The Ballroom’ and ‘The Diorama.’ The Ballroom will honor Christian Dior’s vision of formalwear. He celebrated the power of dusk, noting that ‘the evening is a time when you can escape the realities of everyday life.’ In The Ballroom, patrons will have the opportunity to view many famous dresses, including Lupita Nyong’o’s 2018 Cannes Film Festival dress, Charlize Theron’s Swarovski-adorned 2008  J’adore gown, and Princess Margaret’s 21st Birthday dress on loan from the Museum of London.

The Diorama will display creations which have come out of Dior’s collaborative work, including fragrance bottles, archive lipstick, hats, shoes, bags, and jewelry.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will also celebrate Dior’s adoration of England. Oriole Cullen feels that the story of Dior’s connection to the country is one that is under-told. In an interview with Vogue, the curator explained that Dior’s first visit to England ‘was a very formative moment [for him], and one he really associates with freedom and falling in love. From the grandeur of the great houses and gardens and British-designed ocean liners to the food he ate … the culture became an endless pool of inspiration for him.’ The inclusion of British culture in Dior’s narrative will set the V&A’s exhibition apart from Paris’ version, Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, which ran from July 2017 to January 2018.

If you fancy the most comprehensive look into the work of Christian Dior to date, tickets to the exhibition can be found here, at £24 per adult.