Dior: The Valley Spirit in Essence

Dior: From Paris to the World, Denver Art Museum;
Then: Christian Dior by Yves Saint Laurent, Banco, Haute Couture Fall 1958 Collection 
Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection
Dialogue: Sterling Ruby, SP198, 2012;
Diorissimo perfume in Baccarat crystal bottle, 1956

Then: (from right to left) John Galliano for Christian Dior, Haute Couture Spring 2010 Collection; Christian Dior, Maurice Rostand, Haute Couture Fall 1952 Collection 
Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection 
Dialogue: Romaine Brooks, Spring, ca. 1912

Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection
Dialogue: Exposition surréaliste, Galerie Pierre Colle, 1933

Then: Christian Dior, Bar suit, Haute Couture Spring 1947 Collection

Lily of the valley was said to have sprang from Eve’s tears when she was exiled from the Garden of Eden. This bell-shaped, sweetly scented, highly poisonous flower signifying a return to happiness was Christian Dior’s signature flower and lucky charm. The valley spirit of creation, the ability of one form to assimilate another, as in absorption or incorporation into larger wholes, color, texture, richness, flowering, fertility and interconnected growth are attributes that personify Christian Dior’s legacy and prophesize the house’s ongoing evolution as painted in Dior: From Paris to the World. What art historian and curator Florence Müller has presented in this exemplary retrospective and labor of love is a tableaux vivant of how to create an empire through enrichment and symbiosis. The exhibition experience is that of a contemporary garden, seeding choose your own adventure, a reflection of the journeys undergone by each artistic director who has succeeded Christian Dior, and interpreted the heritage to convey a new essence.

 

In 1919, a fortune teller told a fourteen-year-old Christian Dior “women are lucky for you, and through them you will achieve success.” Dior’s dream of being an architect or composer would manifest in an unconventional sense, through his unique ability to give form to sentiment and construct a business identity with care and distinction given to each element. First, Dior would become the director and partner of successive galleries in Paris, in 1928 with Jacques Bonjean and then with Pierre Colle in 1933. The vision was to bring together the great masters of contemporary art alongside up and coming artists who Dior knew personally and admired, such as his friend Salvador Dali, whom was included in a historic show Dior and Colle exhibited on Surrealism. Dior went on to found his iconic fashion house in 1947, art and culture omnipresent in his life and aesthetic. The first collection was a sensation. Dior debuted a visionary New Look as an emblem for postwar liberation celebrating the splendor of femininity with a silhouette, nipped waist, soft shoulders and accentuated bust, the flower woman. Couture for Dior was an ephemeral architecture in response to the women of his time, a dress by Dior transcended pure technical expertise conveying a sense of wonder. The house of Dior as a sanctuary filled with effects and illusions found enchantment in stylistic interactions between East and West, endless in breadth and variation. Christian Dior’s unbiased celebration of women across cultures combined with his desire to offer a “total look” from dress to perfume in unison unlocked the gate to a new globalization in fashion, seventy years later the Garden of Eden Dior cultivated holds secret wisdoms, fertile ground where if we desire to study and collaborate with intention new hybrids will blossom.

Dior: From Paris to the World, Denver Art Museum;
Curated by Florence Müller, Exhibition Design by Shohei Shigematsu, OMA New York

 

Then: Christian Dior by Yves Saint Laurent, Banco, Haute Couture Fall 1958 Collection, Trapèze line, Faille smock dress with a peony print
Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection, Patchwork floral dress
Dialogue: Sterling Ruby, SP198, 2012;
Diorissimo perfume in Baccarat crystal bottle, 1956

 

Then: John Galliano for Christian Dior, Haute Couture Spring 2010 Collection, Wool jacket and skirt with faille Ascot tie (right); Christian Dior, Maurice Rostand, Haute Couture Fall 1952 Collection, Profilée line, Wool coat
Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection, Patchwork jacket and skirt seaming together reproductions of archival prints
Dialogue: Romaine Brooks, Spring, ca. 1912

 

Now: Pari Dust wears Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Fall 2018 Collection, Patchwork jacket and skirt seaming together reproductions of archival prints
Dialogue: Exposition surréaliste, Galerie Pierre Colle, 1933

 

Then: Christian Dior, Bar suit, Haute Couture Spring 1947 Collection, Corolle line, Afternoon suit, Shantung jacket

 

Makeup by Christian Dior, Photographs by Katya Nunez

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