“Why deprive fashion and women of the prestige and the charms of color?” Christian Dior asked in his memoirs. Beginning with the House’s first show, on 12 February 1947, color has always played a decisive role.
A veritable chromatic voyage, the exhibition Dior: The Art of Color, running at the MoCA in Shanghai until April 8th, presents films with expressionist accents by Serge Lutens, photographs of Tyen’s sensual aesthetic, and images that are homages to color, orchestrated by Richard Burbridge and Peter Philips. Revealing the creative processes of these three Artistic Directors who succeeded each other to head up the House’s makeup, this traveling exhibition retraces the story of Dior makeup in twelve shades.
Among these is red, the Dior manifesto color since 1949, which is when the first lipstick, baptized Rouge Dior, was launched in a limited edition: “It’s the historic red. From the first day here in the House there have always been red lips, and red nails,” explains Peter Philips. Pink, “the sweetest of colors”, according to Christian Dior, is also highlighted, and in several shades: pastel, powder and fuchsia. Hugely superstitious, the founding couturier also had a particular attachment to green which, as he saw it, “always brought luck. What’s more, it’s a seductive and very elegant color.”
And so visitors can discover a photograph of a nude look punctuated by pure green on the lips and eyelids, the work of Peter Philips. Further on, a face is striped in shades of blue, in tribute to Christian Dior’s fascination for this hue which alone could “rival black”, as he notes in his Little Dictionary of Fashion. A subtle and nuanced art that’s also captured in the book Dior: The Art of Color published by Rizzoli.