Le Théâtre de la mode: The Dream Odyssey

Originally conceived as an itinerant show, traveling between Paris, London and the United States, the Théâtre de la mode’s vocation was to showcase the savoir-faire of French haute couture during the post-war era, at a time when the industry had no choice but to reinvent itself in order to perpetuate its enchantment. 

Initiated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, this project – in 1945 in France, and starting in 1946 for the rest of the world – staged tableaux composed of miniature mannequins, dressed in custom-made creations, accessorized with hats and even jewelry. 

The enchanting decors of these tableaux were designed by artists including Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau, and set to music by Henri Sauguet – friends from Christian Dior’s inner circle – to sublimate the talent of several renowned couturiers, milliners, hairdressers and jewelers. 

This dazzling performance – which was exhibited at the Pavillon Marsan, now the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris – recalls the tradition of 18th-century Pandora dolls, as true ambassadors of French style. This homage above all served as an emblem of hope and reborn passion in a time of renewal, during which Christian Dior founded his couture house, in 1946, at 30 Avenue Montaigne, a symbol of joie de vivre and elegance reborn. A virtuoso way of reasserting the central role of Paris as the world’s unrivaled capital of haute couture.

    Echoing this reinvention and powerful message of optimism, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute couture collection, a captivating evocation of those enchanting events, reveals thirty-seven miniature creations. Each requiring infinitely meticulous handiwork, these fascinating haute couture silhouettes – created on mannequins measuring fifty-five centimeters high – were magnified by the Atelier’s petites mains, a testimony to Dior’s excellence in craftsmanship. As if by magic, they were unveiled set in an exceptional trunk embodying the House’s iconic address, 30 Avenue Montaigne, the aptly named “Kingdom of Dreams,” as Monsieur Dior called it.