Dior – An Haute Couture Exhibition At Denver Art Museum

Mike and I visited The Denver Art Museum yesterday specifically to visit an exhibition of fashion “Dior: From Paris to The World”. The house of Dior was founded in Paris by Christian Dior in 1947, and has continued ever since, headed by a line of six designers who succeeded him after his death in 1957. If you are in the Denver area in the next couple of weeks do make an effort to visit. Over 200 garments plus accessories are on show, from the iconic Bar Suit in the first collection to recent pieces from 2017 and 2018. There’s a wonderful overview here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Dior and of course his life and work have been fully documented.

‘Rouge amoureuse’ for Christian Dior by Gianfranco Ferré, Fall-Winter 1993, Long embroidered quilted lamé dress; taffeta coat. In The Secret Of A Venetian Niģht collection.
‘Climène’, a long gold taffeta evening dress from the 1959-1960 collection, designed by Yves Saint Laurent

Such a visual feast! But I could not photograph everything, and so the photos that follow are just the most stunning, the ones that most strongly blew me away.

‘Fanny’ from the 1953 Fall-Winter collection: a Cristian Dior designed celestial-blue taffeta gala dress, worn by Elizabeth Firestone, a major client for years.

The first Christian Dior collection was presented in 1947, just months after I was born (late 1946) The world was still reeling from the impact of WWII and many countries still had fabric and clothing rationing in addition to food rationing. People gathered the latest news via radio, daily newspapers, weekly magazines and the newsreels that preceded movies at cinemas. European papers and magazines were eagerly awaited by fans of fashion around the world. And though I imagine there were some wealthy Australians who did regularly go to Paris, London and other design centres to buy direct from fashion designers, it has always been usual to copy and incorporate design elements into locally produced garments in time for the southern seasons that are several months behind.

My own mother was considered very elegant, and though I know she didn’t have any Dior numbers (and could never have afforded them) she bought or had her dressmaker sew, clothes that reflected some of the looks from various garments I saw yesterday. Several of the garments reminded me of things I remember Mum wearing.

For Christian Dior by John Galliano, Fall-Winter 2008, embroidered mohair bouclette coat. I found the brooch jarring, but I’m sure the coat must have been shown with it.

Dior apparently said “After woman, flowers are the most divine creations.” He loved beautiful dresses and gardening equally. Other designers, too, have been keen gardeners finding much inspiration for detail and embellishment.

Both of these are by Raf Simons for Christian Dior. L – a long dress wirh embroidered organza flower petals, Spring-Summer 2013. R – embroidered silk and tulle evening gown, Spring-Summer 2014,

The current head of Dior is an Italian, Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose view of the modern woman combines desirability, fragility and confident inner strength. She speaks of the core ingredient of Dior clothes being timelessness, with her role being to create a dream while remaining realistic. I guess this is wearability. The most gorgeous garment in this was this heavily beaded dress, which to wear you’d have to be slim and confident, in equal measures !

‘Nude’Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Spring-Summer 2018. Trompe-l’oeil embroidered with metalluc sequins, sunray-pleated tulle train.

The final gallery was large, and this photo was just one corner. Here, as a grand finale perhaps, was a collection of creations from all the Dior designers who at various times have travelled and found inspiration in cultures on continents beyond Europe.

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