Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

On my most recent trip to Paris at the beginning of October, I had an experience I have not been able to stop thinking about. I didn’t really make any plans for the free time I would have during the antiques shopping trip I was a part of, with the exception of buying tickets to the Dior: Couturier du Reve exhibit at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. When Fabian and I were in Paris this summer, we visited the museum just as they were putting the finishing touches on the exhibit, days before it opened. When I knew that I would be visiting Paris again, seeing the exhibit went to the top of my list. I could not have predicted just how incredible it would be.

The Dior exhibit is a magical, transformative experience. Not only isn’t breathtaking to see these couture works of art in person, but the way in which the beautiful clothes are displayed is just as amazing. The exhibit is a chronology of sorts, following the trajectory of Christian Dior’s life and career, as well as the course of his namesake fashion house since his death through the modern period. It was especially wonderful to see Raf Simons exquisite designs in person.

Modern Designs

The first part of the exhibit is a retrospective of the couturiers who succeeded Christian Dior: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Muslin Models

One of the most impressive spaces was this room, stacked high with the muslin models which correspond to many of the couture pieces displayed throughout the exhibit. Each was originally created to exact specifications prior to delving into the full couture piece. Seeing them all displayed this way was incredibly impactful and inspiring.

Cultural Influences

This gallery displayed various gowns according to their respective cultural influences, be they French, Egyptian, Spanish, or Asian.

Miniature Colorama

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the colorama of miniatures. Organized by color, these displays featured miniature versions of couture gowns, along with sketches and accessories. It is so fascinating! I only wish the exhibit hadn’t been so crowded with people so that I could have taken in every last detail.

Gowns and their Stars

I am not sure what this particular part of the exhibit was called, but it was all about gowns worn on the red carpet. The room itself was absolutely gorgeous. After all, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is part of the Louvre.  There was also a lighting installation that corresponded to music and was just magical. At times, it was as if stars were raining down on the room. Sheer magic!

Garden Party

After the last part of the exhibit, I didn’t think things could get any better, but the last part was like the most beautiful garden party ever with a canopy of handmade flowers, leaves, and vines above the most exquisite gowns from the 1940s and 50s.

If you have plans to be in Paris between now and January 7th, I highly encourage you to make time to see this breathtaking exhibit. It is one of the most moving and beautiful experiences I have ever had in a museum. If you’re on the fence about going to Paris soon, this exhibit alone is worth the trip and you know what they say, Paris is always a good idea!

If your plans don’t include being in Paris before the exhibit closes, you can see all of the stunning gowns in the corresponding book, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.

{Photography by Paloma Contreras exclusively for La Dolce Vita}

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