Excited would be an understatement as I waited in line for La Galerie Dior in Paris. After visiting the V&A exhibition: ‘Christian Dior Designer of Dreams’ a few years ago, I have been a huge admirer of the brand, and I am currently reading his autobiography; ‘Dior by Dior’.
As we entered the building, we saw a beautiful white spiral staircase, and on the walls behind a glass case contained bags, shoes, hats, and miniature dresses, slowly changing colours from orange, to peach, to pink and to white. I couldn’t stop staring at the wonderful colours and intricate designs as I stepped into the lift to take me to the start of the exhibition.
The lift doors opened to reveal the top of the magnificent staircase, which was surrounded by black bags, shoes, hats, and miniature dresses, and I could see that the entire staircase had a rainbow of colours, changing from black all the way to white.
The first room, titled ‘Christian Dior (1905-1957)’, was a circular room with books and photographs from Christian’s childhood all the way up to his death. As I walked around, I learnt about his family history and how he discovered his love of fashion and design. It was heart breaking to see how happy he was and to learn that he died of a heart attack at 52, having only had his own fashion house for 10 years.
The second room, titled ‘The Enchanted Gardens’ contained a variety of his floral dresses. The room had dark blue walls with beautiful flower patterns and twinkling lights. The ceiling was covered by dark paper cuttings of flowers which perfectly complemented the dresses.
Dior has always expressed a love for flowers and their intricate details, and it is clear by his designs that he spent hours studying them and admiring the beauty of nature. My favourite dress in this room was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Jardin Fleurs” painting. The dress has hundreds of flowers, who’s petals are made with feathers, it perfectly depicted Van Gogh’s wonderful painting.
In contrast to the dark walls of the garden room, the pristine white walls of Dior’s office created a beautiful, light environment. Behind his desk, old videos of him in his office played and you could see the passion that he had for his designs. In the room next to his office, a large screen played old videos of the models getting ready for a show. The excitement and passion that Dior created was clearly infectious, every model was smiling and laughing in anticipation for the show.
As I continued through the various rooms, I came across a beautiful painting by Christian Bérard (1902-1949), titled “Les Saltimbanques” painted in 1946 which depicts three ladies in beautiful floral hats. You could clearly see Dior’s love of flowers and floral designs; the delicate pale pink stands out against the black and brown clothes that everyone else is wearing.
Walking down the stairs to the next floor, I came across the most beautiful gown. It was an icy blue, covered in tiny crystals, I was in awe. The design was so elegant and feminine, I felt that it really illustrated Dior’s vision. This dress was part of a collection of dresses worn by various celebrities, most notably Princess Diana, who wore a stunning navy-blue dress to the 1996 Met Gala.
By far the most impressive room, “The Dior Ball” room showcased Dior’s spectacular ball gowns. The walls of the room projected various backgrounds, from a beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds to a starry night sky. The change in backgrounds allowed me to see the dresses in different lights, I was able to fully appreciate how amazing each dress was.
I finished my visit with a hot chocolate and a slice of chocolate tart in the Dior café. As I walked down the beautiful spiral staircase to the bottom floor, I was able to see how the colours on the walls perfectly changed from one to another.