All the most beautiful gowns you can expect to see at the V&A's Dior exhibition

Amy de Klerk
Photo credit: Courtesy of Dior

From Harper's BAZAAR

The V&A is set to stage the largest and most comprehensive Dior exhibition in UK history. The show – which is entitled 'Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams' – is also the biggest fashion exhibition to be put on by the museum since the hugely popular 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty'.

The exhibit will span from 1947 to present day. It will trace the history and impact of the founder and the six other artistic directors to have helmed the house.

Here, we round up everything you need to know about what is sure to be one of 2019's most exciting exhibitions.

What will the exhibition cover?

'Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams' will trace the 71-year history of the House of Dior, beginning in 1947, when Christian Dior opened his couturier at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the site where it still stands today.

The major exhibition will trace this beginning through to present day – via the display of over 500 objects – looking at the impact of Dior's 'New Look' (and how it has been reinterpreted again and again throughout Dior's history) as well as the house's relationship with travel, flowers, history and so much more.

Photo credit: 30 Avenue Montaigne, circa 1947. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

In addition to displaying some of the house's most iconic and memorable gowns, the exhibition will also highlight the breadth of creations that have come out of the fashion house over the years – and will pay tribute to those who have collaborated with Dior. This, entitled the 'Diorama' section, will showcase accessories from costume jewellery and hats to shoes, bags, archive lipstick and fragrance bottles.

Another highlight will no doubt be the 'Designers for Dior' section which will spotlight the work of the six creative directors who have helmed the label since Christian Dior passed away in 1957. It will celebrate how each designer has interpreted the vision of the label in their own way, whilst consistently sticking to the "codes of Dior".

Photo credit: Christian Dior by John Galliano (b.1960), Haute Couture, AutumnWinter 2004. Photo (c) Laziz Hamani. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

Which famous dresses will be on display?

Perhaps the most impressive section of the exhibition will be that which celebrates "the fantasy of the ball". 'The Ballroom' will showcase 70 years of stunning formal evening wear, which is where will some of the house's most famous dresses will be on display in a dramatic light installation.

The room will pay tribute to the incredible skill of the haute couture atelier's and to Christian Dior's vision: "The evening is a time when you can escape the realities of everyday life."

Here are just some of the most exquisite dresses that will be on display in this section and in others.

Princess Margaret's 21st birthday dress

Dior designed this dress for Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday, and she was photographed by Cecil Beaton in it for her official birthday portrait.

Photo credit: Cecil Beaton (1904-80), London, UK, 1949. © Cecil Beaton, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Charlize Theron's J'adore gown

As the face of the J’Adore fragrance since 2004, Charlize Theron has worn a series of haute couture creations specially designed for the perfume identity, including this Swarovski crystal-encrusted gown from the 2008 J’Adore campaign.

Photo credit: Christian Dior by John Galliano, J’adore, Dress, Haute Couture, 2008 (custom-made) Photo © Laziz Hamani Christian Dior Parfums collection, Paris

Lupita Nyong'o's Cannes dress

Actress Lupita Nyong'o wore this white gown to the premiere of Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer Et Courir Vite) during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images

Elle Fanning's Cannes dress

Maria Grazia Chiuri designed this floral-inspired creation for the spring/summer 2017 couture collection, which Elle Fanning wore to the Cannes Film Festival that May.


Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images

How will it differ to the exhibition in Paris?

'Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams' will be based on a previous major exhibition organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, entitled 'Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve' (which you can see highlights of below). It will be reimagined by the V&A and will include a brand-new section that will explore Christian Dior's fascination with British culture.

"Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary," the press release said. "He also had a preference for Savile Row suits. In 1947, he hosted his first UK fashion show at London’s Savoy Hotel, and in 1952 established Christian Dior London."

Photo credit: Getty Images

A highlight of the exhibition will no doubt be the Dior dress the above Princess Margaret wore for her 21st birthday celebrations, which will be on loan from the Museum of London. The exhibition will also bring to life some of the house's most spectacular fashion shows which were staged in Britain, including the one in Blenheim Palace in 1954.

When does the exhibition open?

'Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams' will run from 2 February to 14 July 2019. Tickets will be available to buy from autumn 2018.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Dior

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