Designer of Dreams

by Protima Daryanani

Located in the recently-opened Sainsbury Gallery in London’s Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” features over 500 pieces that trace the house of Dior’s work and influences beginning with the inception of the fashion house in 1947. Focusing specifically on Dior’s fascination with British culture, the exhibition celebrates the designer’s successful revival of high fashion in the years following World War II, when countries throughout Europe were still being forced to ration their resources. “In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his New Look, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-war Parisian fashion industry,” explains V&A’s Curator of Modern Textiles & Fashion, Oriole Cullen. The display of 200 rare couture gowns “showcases the ways in which Dior’s succeeding creative directors have been inspired by his legacy,” from the daring designs of Yves Saint Laurent to the ebullience of John Galliano and the minimalism of  current Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. A collection of Christian Dior’s personal possessions is presented alongside the gowns, including accessories, photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, and magazines, to give visitors a deeper understanding of the man behind the successful couture house.