Revealing key aspects of Christian Dior’s childhood and early career as an art dealer in the lead up to the opening of his couture house, the exhibition will present key works and examine how Dior became such an influential force shaping the fashionable silhouette of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
THE HOUSE OF DIOR
SEVENTY YEARS OF HAUTE COUTURE
NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA
27 AUGUST – 7 NOVEMBER 2017PURCHASE YOUR TICKET
In celebration of one of the most prestigious couture houses in the world, the National Gallery of Victoria is delighted to present The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International from 27 August to 7 November 2017. Exclusive to Melbourne and the NGV, the exhibition will present more than 140 garments designed between 1947 and 2017, including some of the most outstanding, theatrical and technically accomplished pieces from Christian Dior Couture. Visitors are invited to explore Christian Dior’s early influences and the design codes synonymous with Dior, as well as the milestones of the six successive designers who have shaped Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette. Highlights of the exhibition include examples from Christian Dior’s iconic spring 1947 ‘New Look’ collection, magnificent displays of Dior’s signature ball gowns and evening dresses, and designs from the inaugural couture collection of the House’s first female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri.
CHRISTIAN DIOR: THE EARLY YEARS
CODES OF DIOR
The New LookThe first collection presented in spring 1947 with its revolutionary Corolla and Figure eight lines, established the unfurling hourglass silhouette which became known as the New Look. The LineWith collections spanning 1947-1957 , Christian Dior developed a series of distinct lines that informed the silhouette of his designs. The Zig-zag, Tulip, Oblique, H and Y lines are just a few of these defining shapes.The FlowerChristian Dior used the flower as an inspiration to structure his garments and as a motif to embellish the surfaces with rich detail and patterns. His designs often took the three-dimensional form of flowers such as the tulip, rose and lily-of-the-valley. Ever since, the flower has remained a recurrent theme for the designs created by the House of Dior.The Eighteenth CenturyChristian Dior was enamoured with the history of the eighteenth century. He and Dior’s successive designers have taken inspiration from the period’s exaggerated fashion silhouettes, the architecture, decorative arts and embroidered silks of the time.
INSIDE THE HOUSE OF DIOR – THE ATELIER
Haute couture is a synthesis of design creativity, technical expertise, flawless fit, costly materials and countless hours. Since 1946 the atelier workrooms of Avenue Montaigne have maintained an acute, specialist knowledge that privileges manual methods of making and craft skills in the transformation of a sketch or idea into garment form. Divided into two streams, flou (soft dressmaking) and tailleur (tailoring), the atelier possesses different material and technical specialities. From the very first collection, standards of workmanship at Dior were extremely high. Today the Dior couture atelier employs close to sixty core staff. Producing close to sixty modelès a season, the flou and the tailleur still hold an important place in the cultural identity of the house.
DIOR AND AUSTRALIA: 1947–57
The House of Dior was envisioned by Christian Dior as a global fashion house from its inception. Australia was one of the very first markets outside of Paris to have access to original Dior designs. Just one year after launching his first collection in spring 1947, fifty original creations by Christian Dior were sent to Sydney for a parade at the David Jones department store, making it the first representative Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.
Since Christian Dior’s sudden death in 1957, the House of Dior has continued to evolve and consolidate its place in the fashion world under the guiding hand of six further directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Each have responded differently to the weight of Christian Dior’s formidable legacy and have successfully ensured the house has remained a relevant and leading force in the world of couture, from the 1950s to the present day.
TOP TO TOE
From its establishment, the vision for the House of Dior encompassed all aspects of what it meant to be fashionably well-dressed. This extended beyond skirts, suits and evening attire to include a ‘top to toe’ approach to dressing that included hosiery, hats, shoes, bags, makeup and fragrances. In the early years, many accessories were designed by Christian Dior himself and created in collaboration with technical specialists, such as milliners, shoe makers and perfumers. Many of these items have become as important to the house’s identity as the couture collections themselves.
The House of Dior has long been synonymous with dramatic evening dresses and sweeping ball gowns made from metres of sumptuous cloth, intricate beading and decadent embroidery. These magnificent gowns have become the pinnacle of haute couture brilliance and a unique showcase for the many specialised skills and crafts that make Parisian couture unique.
Artistic Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Tony Ellwood, and the exhibition’s curator, Katie Somerville speak about the exhibition entitled The House of Dior, Seventy Years of Haute Couture.
The National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia. Situated over two magnificent buildings in Melbourne – NGV International and NGV Australia – the Gallery presents over 40 exhibitions a year from a wide range of international and local artists, spanning major international historic exhibitions to contemporary art, fashion and design.
180 St Kilda road, Melbourne
+61 (0)3 8620 2222
Dates and opening hours
The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture
27 August – 7 November 2017
Open 10am–5pm daily
Admission fees apply:
Seniors Card Holder* $23.50
NGV Member Adult $22
NGV Member Family* $50
* Child (5–15 years) | Seniors Card Holder (Wed only) | Family (2 Adults + 3 Children)