To celebrate seventy years of The House of Dior, the National Gallery of Victoria hosted an exclusive exhibition of Dior Haute Couture from 1947 to 2017. The exhibition was laid out like a timeline, beginning with the classic silhouettes and simple designs of the 1940’s all the way through to the experimental avant-garde designs of the modern era.
There was a noticeable fluctuation of style as you progressed through the exhibition. From the iconic designs of Christian Dior himself, to Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, and the first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri. While times have inevitably changed and fashions evolved, the structure and silhouette of Dior designs transcend time. Dior has a classic aesthetic no matter how outlandish or bold, eternally trés chic forever and always.
I particularly loved the historical paraphernalia surrounding Dior’s relationship with Australia. David Jones held a Dior parade in 1948 to launch the full spring collection. This was no small event, it was the first time one of Dior’s collections were shown outside of the fashion capital of Paris. I had no idea of Dior’s special affection for Australia. There was a second show scheduled for the 1958, sponsored by David Jones and the Australian Women’s Weekly, but Christian Dior sadly passed away in 1957 before the show came to fruition. Despite this, over eighty unique pieces were sent to Australia and Dior’s final collection went on without him. Some of the designs in this collection were named Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.
Apart from the elaborate glittering chandeliers hanging throughout the exhibit, each display was centred around the dresses – the true stars of the show. The intricacies of the designs were accentuated by the fact that you could get up close to most of the designs. Although, the very special ones were safely guarded behind glass, but a vast majority were at arms length – just no touching allowed.
Seriously though, every piece was made with such precision and expert craftsmanship. There was not a single pearl or bead out of place, nor a stitch in sight, every design was a true feat of inspired artistry, imagination, and creative engineering.
The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture
National Gallery of Victoria
St Kilda Road
Telephone: 03 8620 2222
Open from 27 August – 7 November 2017
Want to see more beautiful exhibitions? I know you do.