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L’atelier du rêve : an amazing retrospective of Dior’s history

November 22, 2017

Today, I would like to tell you about a great and big exhibition that I saw in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior. During the visit, you are completely immersed in the universe of the famous designer and his successors (such as Yves St-Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons…). The exhibition insists on the abundant sources of inspiration which enabled Dior to develop a new style and to create so many clothes. Then, you discover the importance of art in his life, and the strong link that exists between art, history and fashion, which particulary interests me.

Christian Dior (1905-1957),  is now well-known all aroud the world as a symbol of French haute couture. But people often forget that before becoming a famous French designer, Dior had a previous life as a gallery owner, passionate above all abput beauty. Indeed, in 1928 he opened with a friend a gallery rue de la Boétie, which is the street in Paris where artists used to meet and send their works. Dior was a man of his time : he  was really close to the surrealist and cubist new artistic movements, which where so different from all that had been done before and marked the birth of modernism.  He lived among this new generation of musicians, poets, and painters, helping some of them to become famous such as Dali and Giacometti. He also rubbed shoulders with Picasso, Braque, Fernand Léger, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Matisse, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Miró… and had a close friendship with Jean Cocteau. In 1934, the consequences of the 1929 economic crisis forced him to bring an end to his career as a gallery owner, then he had a difficult period and finally went into fashion.

Dior produced his first collection in 1947, and it was immediatly a huge success all around the world. On this occasion he created the “New Look”, which is a new style which broke with the traditional fashion of the time. Indeed, during World War II women used to wear straight and strict outfits with bleak colours. They didn’t take care a lot over their appearance, because of the shortages and restrictions. Dior decided to put a stop to this dismal period by celebrating the woman’s body and her feminity. Then he created a new silhouette that he called “corolla” because for him a woman is like a flower. The main characteritics of this new silhouette are a slim waist and a baggy, long skirt with a lot of fabric. This new look shows the will of the society to enjoy life again, to have fun and above all to restore beauty in everyday life, after the end of the war. The woman  can seduce again. The famous “Bar dress” is representative of the New Look :

Dior was the first fashion designer to use professional photographs to promote his collections. He was also the first one to publish outdoor fashion photos. Dior always elaborated the forms of his clothes as if he were an architect, and choose the colors as if he were a painter. He considered fashion as a real art, which allowed him  to celebrate the beauty of the woman. After him, his successors continued to mix art and fashion :

The harlequin outfit directly inspired by the harlequin painted by Picasso. It was then very daring to create clothes with such big geometric forms.

They are also inspired by other cultures, such as Japenese or African culture

I definitely recommend you this exhibition !  I’m usually not very keen on fashion, but then I discovered the beautiful job of being a fashion designer. It is really moving to think that  a man created millions of beautiful and glamorous clothes to celebrate the beauty of women. I think Dior loved women very much. I wasn’t aware that Dior had created so many dresses for famous movie stars. When you see a fashion designer’s dress in real, you realize how much the fabric is thin, so well cut, with a lot of embroideries… Finally I changed my point of view : it is really a kind of art ! Dior’s works now belong to the French heritage. The exhibition is huge, there are more than 400 dresses, you just think it will never stop, it made me giddy !  But there were too many people and sometimes I found it hard to see the clothes very well or to take the time I would have needed.

Marianne

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One Comment leave one →
  1. margauxchz permalink
    December 6, 2017 9:55 am

    cool!

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