A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Dior Exhibit currently on display at the Denver Art Museum. As the museum’s website describes, Dior: From Paris to the World showcases 70 years of the Dior fashion house, providing the history behind its founder Christian Dior and his successors, displaying more than 200 couture dresses (as well as photographs, sketches, videos, and accessories), and explaining the muses behind each collection. I don’t follow designers very closely and didn’t know what to expect from this exhibit. However, I knew I would love it either way because it was fashion and dresses and all things pretty. Well let me just tell you…Touring this collection completely blew me out of the water! Seeing these gorgeous haute couture dresses in real life made *almost* all my fashion dreams come true. (The last one would be, of course, actually wearing one of these dresses.)
The exhibit is showcased in chronological order, starting with Christian Dior’s collection that founded the couture powerhouse in Paris in 1946. Dior started a fashion revolution in a post-WWII era, focusing on “modern femininity” by abandoning the previously masculine silhouettes and instead accentuating the natural curves of a woman (source). The two pictures above showcase his first collection, which was almost entirely black. The lighting was very dim in the room in order to preserve the quality of the fabric.
The exhibit included an auditory tour (on a little headset) as the pieces themselves had no plaques or labels. I enjoyed the auditory aspect because I get very impatient reading lots of signs in museums. What I loved learning most in this collection was how Dior used flowers as his muse! With the more fitted silhouettes, he compared the dresses to the stems of flowers, whereas fit-and-flare or more curvy shapes were like upside down flowers beginning to open and bloom. How cool is that?! Dior’s designs also received some backlash, and one photo displayed a woman in Dior with people ripping apart her dress, saying it used too much fabric—that’s a post-WWII mindset for ya’.
Notice how the dress on the far right in the bottom photo has a coin purse attached to the peplum—who needs the recently trendy belt-bag when your purse is just attached to the dress itself?
How pretty is this strawberry pink gown with the gorgeous back and beaded detail? I bet it felt very heavy to wear.
I absolutely adore this dress because it reminds of a flapper girl! And as y’all know, I love that era of fashion. I even have a look-a-like dress from White House Black Market, so I’ve basically worn Dior, no big deal.
This jacket was revolutionary because previously, leather was worn only by men and was not considered very feminine or fashionable. The auditory tour mentioned how this piece took a ridiculous amount of time to make, as the leather was carefully stitched to appear like alligator skin.
I think this may have been my favorite dress from the whole exhibit. It’s off-white, covered in gorgeous beads, and was worn by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn (did you see my Halloween costume?). Something about the unique bubble shape, tapering at the hem, and straight-across neckline is just the epitome of vintage style. So pretty!
Sadly, Christian Dior died suddenly of a heart attack in 1957, only a decade after he started his fashion house. He was only 52. The exhibit also showcased his successors’ designs and dresses, but the original Dior’s pieces were my favorite. It’s incredible to think he created such a lasting brand in only ten years! His first successor was actually Yves Saint Laurent, which I found extremely fascinating (as you may know, YSL is now another huge fashion house of its own).
This wall displayed all the shapes and forms of gowns—the white fabric is only used for the design, these pieces aren’t actually the finished product. It was amazing to see them all displayed on the wall like this, and even cooler to notice the same finished pieces later in the exhibit.
One room of the exhibit showcased gowns worn by celebrities on the red carpet and elsewhere, in addition to massive screens that rotated through photos and videos of the actual stars in the dresses. This dark gold gown was worn by Charlize Theron—she is BY FAR my woman crush. I mean, did you see her in Mad Max? She’s so gorgeous she even makes dirt look good!
This room was very cool because it displayed the advent of Dior’s expansion into the creation of accessories, jewelry, and perfume in addition to the couture clothing. The color coordinated panels are what I imagine heaven to look like!
This collection was inspired by Jackson Pollock style art (you know, those splatter paint pieces). While I didn’t like the majority of the collection, the lines and silhouette of this piece really stood out to me. I love that back!
This collection was inspired by Renaissance art, as you can see from the painting in the background.
Y’all know I love polka dots, but I’m even more attracted to that piece in the middle. I’m not usually a fan of bows—but WOW!
The dress on the right is so delicate and pretty. I would look absolutely horrible in it (light pink and blush colors wash me out) but I love it nonetheless. Stunning.
The above two photos were a collection inspired by Monet’s paintings. I love the garden party theme and the delicate pastel colors with floral textures. The dress in the top photo on the right (that looks like grass) was HOT. It looked so flattering, even just on the dress form, and I would wear it in a heartbeat. It’s so unique!
The dress in the middle of the bottom photo was designed for Dior’s sister (the auditory tour had a touching story to go with it, but I have since forgotten the details). The dress was titled “Miss Dior,” which later became one of the brand’s most iconic perfumes.
For the final section of the exhibit, we entered a massive room and immediately my jaw dropped—this photo is only one corner of the gallery that included at least fifty couture and avant garde dresses from the most recent runway seasons. Most of these final dresses were a little too extravagant for my tastes, but the display of the room itself was breathtaking.
If you enjoy fashion and ever get a chance to see this exhibit (or any fashion-related exhibit, for that matter), I highly recommend it! Even my mom, who is not as style-obsessed as I am, really enjoyed the experience because of the rich history explained and the stories told. I left feeling incredibly inspired and longing for a sketchbook to start drawing my own designs!
I hope you have a fabulous Thursday and a very fashionable weekend. Let me know your thoughts on these gorgeous gowns in the comments below!
Miles of smiles,