DESIGNER WEDDING DRESSES: Christian Dior Exhibition, Paris

Paris photographer

Designer wedding dresses: Christian Dior

Christian Dior wedding dresses were on the news this summer. Specifically for the fact that Miranda Kerr – Australian Victoria Secret model – married the Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel. Kerr wore a unique piece by Dior Haute Couture.   “I think it’s every girl’s dream to have Dior design her wedding dress,” Kerr told Vogue. 

Kerr’s wedding dress was inspired by the wedding gown worn by Grace Kelly at her wedding ceremony to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Grace Kelly’s wedding dressed was created by a costume designer of MGM. Kerr’s wedding dress was the work of Maria Grazia Chiuri of Haute Couture Dior. A social-media ban (including Snapchat) insure that the details of the day remain private.

Christian Dior designs and designers

An unprecedented exhibition marking 70 years of the house of Dior is running at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Both wings of the museum covering 32,000 sq ft are showcasing France’s best known couturier – Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. Christian Dior is world famous for designing fashion of dreams, including dream wedding gowns.

Room after room presents intricate works, daring pieces, simple but genius shapes as well as world famous photographs of world famous people wearing Christian Dior dresses. However, the exhibition starts with a simple dress in “satan red” – pleated skirt radiating from the wasp-waist. Design, which became his signature silhouette after it’s launch as Dior’s “New Look” in 1947.

Each of the Haute Couture Dior designers who followed after Christian Dior’s death in 1957 is given a room showcasing their signature pieces. Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and the current, first female, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Rooms, Themes and Vision

Most rooms are designed thematically, for example one of the rooms is set out like a garden.  Intricately cut paper vines cascade from the ceiling while Renaissance paintings set the base tone. Another room shows a staggering and meticulous use of colour. “Colourama” display features designer shoes, bags, jewellery and perfume bottles  in colour blocks. Here is a handy explanation what important role the colours played in designing dresses and accessories in the House of Dior:

“The Colorama illustrates the dream couturier nurtured right from the start: to dress a woman in Christian Dior from head to toe. A visionary who anticipated the future development of the luxury and fashion industry. He insisted that everything, from hats to shoes, jewellery to bags, and perfume to make-up, had to play its part in creating a meticulous elegance. Shoe designs that are the fruit of collaboration with Delman and Roger Vivier sit alongside jewellery designs produced by Henkel & Grosse, Scemama and Gripoix including the famous stone known as Aurora Borealis, created in 1956 by Swarovski for the House of Dior. Perfume bottle plaster prototypes encounter Stephen Jones’s hats. Drawings by Rene Gruau and Mats Gustafson.

This panorama of objects demonstrates the enduring nature of Dior’s overarching vision of fashion. Presented as a rainbow, they showcase the House of Dior’s core colour palette. It includes pink “the colour of happiness and femininity”. Grey – “the most convenient and elegant neutral colour”, reminding Dior of the facade of his childhood home in Granville. Dior describes “Dior red” – the colour that best symbolises his “Trafalgar effects” and the colour that “dresses women’s smiles”. As for black, he considers it to be the most elegant of colours.  He once said he could write an entire book about it.”

The Finale

Against tradition, the finale of the exhibition is not a wedding dress. The “Dior ballroom” is a multi level installation of some of the most famous Christian Dior gowns. Dresses such as Elizabeth Taylor’s 1961 Academy Awards gown and Rihanna’s recent Cann film festival gown.  The whole room is lit up by ever changing cascade of light transporting you to the dreams and reality of celebrities of the the past 70 years.

A total sensory overload, an excess of colour, glitter and pattern is a result of this 3 hour immersion into the world of dreams.

As a final thought here is a quote from the exhibition organisers which seems most appropriate:

“The goal of the exhibition is to show the source of creation and the breadth of culture that Christian Dior and the designers who succeeded his possessed. They really explored the history of art. It’s important for the public to understand that fashion isn’t “easy”. Dior, and the others, made a point of bathing in culture. He understood the complexity of things, but what he loved was simplicity.”

I couldn’t agree more. I loved every minute of it… rather like Christian Dior I seek a regular connection with art and culture. Hence my trips to art galleries, museums and theatres 🙂

The exhibition is open until 8th January 2018. It is the biggest Dior retrospective ever staged, and the first one in France in 30 years.

Enjoy the pictures.

Yana x

PS I went to see ballet in Palais Garnier that evening. I will post some pictures soon.



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