The Victoria and Albert Museum is currently the proud host of the Christian Dior ‘Designer of Dreams’ exhibition, celebrating the excellence of both Dior himself and the overwhelming success of his fashion house. Showcasing Dior’s own creations, as well as those of later creative directors including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri, this exhibition covers the history of the Dior fashion house from its birth in 1946 until the present day.
Decades of Dior history are available to see up close and personal, with items worn by Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Rihanna and Emma Watson (to name a few) all being beautifully displayed. Showcasing Dior’s influence on and relationships with celebrities across time is just one way in which the fashion house is celebrated in this exhibition, allowing the public to gain access to bespoke items made for many Dior muses.
Throughout the exhibition, the cultural impact that Dior has had on both the fashion industry and culture as a whole is made abundantly clear. Showcasing everything from Dior’s ‘New Look’ line created in 1947 to modern day Vogue covers featuring Dior designs, the originality and influence of the brand is aptly celebrated.
This is the V&A’s second largest fashion exhibition ever, following only the ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ exhibition back in 2015. As Dior himself said, ‘I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture,’ so it is only fitting that his work is being displayed here.
Separated into eleven sections, the ‘Designer of Dreams’ exhibit moves amongst the works of various creative directors as well as many iconic looks that have become synonymous with the name ‘Dior.’ Christian Dior’s original designs from 1947-1957 still influence fashion trends today, with his vision being continued by the many creative directors that have followed in his footsteps. In separating out the collections made by each creative director, the flare of each designer is celebrated, all whilst staying true to the iconic classy Dior image.
As well as allowing the public to gain a glimpse into Dior’s archives, the exhibition also allows its audience an insight into how the fashion industry itself has changed. An entire room is dedicated to showcasing designs that are inspired by countries and cultures from across the world, with this in itself potentially being deemed problematic in today’s climate. The inspirations behind designs are often as important as the designs themselves, and this exhibition splits its focus between the two.
Ultimately, the V&A’s ‘Designer of Dreams’ exhibit is a beautifully displayed celebration of the unique creations of Christian Dior, and is certainly not one to be missed by any fashion or art lovers out there. As Dior said himself, ‘In the world today, haute couture is one of the last repositories of the marvellous,’ and with the stunning array of pieces on offer to view here, it certainly convinces one to feel the same way.
The exhibition’s unprecedented popularity has caused it to extend its dates until September, with new tickets being released daily at 10am at the V&A’s Grand Entrance.