Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

V&A, London


Current - until September 1st

There are few art forms that truly resonate with the general public more than fashion. The intrinsic link between style and our human desire for beauty creates an almost god-like persona around those who can forge jaw-dropping garments. Most of us mere mortals find an almost unsurpassable level of difficulty in selecting a shirt and a pair of jeans that truly “go together”. Perhaps this is why we consider those who can make these unimaginable decisions to be cultural icons, - few more so than Christian Dior.

Highlights of his game-changing 1947 first collection Corelle, now known as “ The New Look”, can be seen at the V&A’s latest exhibition: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. The exhibition consists of all the iconic Parisian pieces that defined a generation of dreamers who wanted to be their local Audrey Hepburn. It also contains more modern pieces worn by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron.

The exhibition is the ultimate escapism into a time we all dream of being a part of, and, much like the swinging sixties or the grunge-filled nineties, very few people actually were. Walk through hallways full of skirts and dresses that we all can imagine swishing around the waist of our local sweetheart. She smiles back at you, auburn hair covered by a jauntily placed beret. God, I can smell the rose petals from here.

Obviously, this coming from the perspective of myself, a man. I can only begin to imagine the pangs of lust and envy from several generations of women, who have spent their entire lives being berated by advertising, into wanting these clothes more than their left foot. However, I can imagine the intoxicating effects would be largely the same.  

Be sure to look out for the hand-drawn sketches by the man himself. In the same way that people weep at the sight of the Turin Shroud, there is a definite emotional response at being face to face with the hand-drawn work of a man who still defines culture sixty-two years after his death.

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