Textiles

The Art of Fashion: A Date with Dior

Dior Travels to the United States: Philadelphia Museum of Art and Denver Art Museum Exhibit Haute Couture

Christian Dior with models.jpg

André Gandner, Christian Dior with models, about 1955, photograph. Image courtesy of the Denver Museum of Art.

Fashion house Dior is at the heart of two forthcoming exhibitions in the US. Dior: From Paris to the World at the Denver Art Museum explores its different designers including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri, while Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art surveys seven decades of style.

Adrian, Velvet Winged Victory Gown, 1947, textile garment. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In Philadelphia, the exhibition begins with fashions dating from 1947 – the year Christian Dior introduced his revolutionary "New Look," as dubbed by Harpers Bazaar editor-in-chief Carmel Snow, from which the exhibition takes it name. In addition to these iconic early works, Adrian's 1947 velvet "winged victory" gown among them, a 2013 shift dress by American painter Ellsworth Kelly and Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein showcases fashion’s close relationship with art.

John Galliano for Christian Dior, Gold Embroidered Triple Organza Jacket and Skirt, from Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2004. Image Courtesy of Dior Héritage Collection, Paris. Photo © Laziz Hamani.

The Denver show includes artistic influences as well, notably a 2017 haute couture dress by Maria Grazia Chiuri inspired by Man Ray. “You see how a designer can transform an artist’s idea with fabric and embroidery to the point where if you didn’t know the source of inspiration, you wouldn’t understand the complexity,” says Florence Müller, the show's curator. Designed by renowned architect Shohei Shigematsu, who also fashioned the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2015 Costume Institute blockbuster, Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology, the innovative exhibition will be arranged in thematic sections that chart the couture house's global legacy. A dramatic visual display will also reveals the Dior atelier – the heart of the house where Dior's dream of making women more beautiful came to life.

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Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 16 October 2018–3 March 2019

Dior: From Paris to the World on view at the Denver Art Museum from 19 November 2018–3 March 2019

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