Dior: From Paris to the World (Denver Art Museum)
I was excited to see the Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, Dior: From Paris to the World. We had been planning to go for over a month and had our tickets in hand. I was not anticipating to be so happy that I could cry. Yes, you read that right. Everything was gorgeous. The gowns, displays, music, sketches, fabrics, beads, ruffles, textures, all of it. It was overwhelmingly breathtaking in the best way.
The exhibit at the Denver Art Museum takes you through the history of Dior. Beyond that, the clothing are all works of art and are stunning. There are some art pieces throughout the exhibit as well to include my favorite Monet, Nympheas (Waterlilies) from nineteen hundred and four.
The history of Dior is a fascinating story to me as I didn’t realize that he died so young and has had many successors. Christian Dior was born in France in the early nineteen hundreds. He started his career in the arts and had an art gallery financed by his father which later closed due to financial troubles. He started in fashion under Robet Piguet where he worked with Pierre Balmain and found his talent for fashion design. He left working in fashion to serve in the Army during World War II, then returned in the early nineteen forties to continue with Lucien Lelong. Dior ultimately established his own fashion house in nineteen forty six.
His first show in nineteen forty seven was known as “The New Look” and has influenced the fashion industry ever since. Initially, Dior was not perceived well. He used bustier style bodices, corsets and petticoats, he said “I have designed flower women.” His designs gave women a more voluptuous look and he used a lot of fabric to create his looks. During one of his initial photo shoots in Paris, his models were attacked by female vendors due to the overuse of fabric to make his clothing. These thoughts and perceptions subsided after World War II and Paris was reestablished as the fashion capital of the world.
Dior died in the nineteen fifties of a heart attack. There seems to be a lot of speculation around his death and what caused the heart attack; choking on a fish bone, during a card came or during private engagements. Since his death, many have held the role of head designer at the House of Dior to include Yves Saint Lauren, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri who is the first woman to be the head designer at the House of Dior.
In addition to clothing, the Dior name is known for many products such as ties, shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, perfume, cosmetics and baby clothes. He wrote a book titled Je Suis Couturier (I am a fashion designer) which he wrote in the nineteen fifties and discusses his work as a designer.
When I am fortunate enough to see an exhibit like this, I am awed by the beauty of clothing. The structure and design of Dior is timeless. As a woman in the day to day, I sometimes forget the beauty of the female form and how much clothing impacts our shapes. I continually work on creating a small collection of timeless pieces and am inspired to build a classic capsule wardrobe to last for years to come.
The Dior: From Paris to the World exhibit at the Denver Art Museum (https://denverartmuseum.org/) is running through March 3, 2019.