Christian Dior (French, 1905-1957). Costume bar, afternoon ensemble with a jacket in natural ecru shantung and a skirt in black pleated wool crepe. Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1947, Corolle line. Dior Héritage collection, Paris. (Composite scan: Katerina Jebb)

The exhibition’s New York premiere Christian Dior: Creator of Dreams traces the revolutionary history and heritage of Maison Dior and presents unique pieces drawn mainly from the Dior archives.

Christian Dior: Creator of Dreams explores the more than seventy-year history of Maison Dior with more than two hundred haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, accessories and works by the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. Displayed in the museum’s magnificent 20,000 square foot Beaux-Arts Courtyard, designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1893, Christian Dior: Creator of Dreams is based on major exhibitions held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 2017, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2019, and at the Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, in 2020. The exhibition is curated by specialist Dior Florence Müller,
Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion, Denver Art Museum, in collaboration with Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum, and will be on view from September 10, 2021 to February 20, 2022.

Christian Dior with the Sylvie model, circa 1948. Courtesy of Christian Dior

The Brooklyn Museum presentation includes works by great American photographers such as Lillian Bassman, Cass Bird, Henry Clarke, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, William Helburn, Horst P. Horst, William Klein, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz,
Frances McLaughlin-Gill, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Karen Radkai and Herb Ritts, with a special presentation of the iconic Dovima with Elephants by Richard Avedon, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris (August 1955). In addition, works by Dior and his artistic directors – Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri – are juxtaposed with works from the Museum’s collection. In one section, a rare blackened ten-panel FSW (Folding Screen Wall) (1946-1955), by Charles Eames and Ray Eames, is exhibited with period Dior motifs. In another section you can see drawings and studies by Judy Chicago, presented with recent drawings by Chiuri. Of particular note is Dior’s one-of-a-kind 1880 Fashion Doll (Afternoon Set), which entered the Brooklyn Museum collection in 1949, making it the first American museum collection to be acquired. a Dior.

With objects drawn mainly from the Dior archives, the exhibition includes a huge range of haute couture clothing that illustrates many of the French couturier’s legendary silhouettes, including the “New Look”, which debuted in 1947, just a few months away. before Dior went to the United States. United States and open the Christian Dior branch in New York. With its creations widely photographed and featured in leading publications, Dior has become one of the world’s most recognized names in fashion. The exhibition also brings to life Dior’s many sources of inspiration, from the splendor of flowers and other natural forms to classical and contemporary art, which will influence the creators of Maison Dior for decades. A canvas room, a tribute to the Ateliers, and adjacent galleries of couture clothes showcase the excellence of Dior’s little hands. The central atrium of the Court of Fine Arts has been redesigned as an enchanted garden, and a final gallery features many famous dresses worn by movie stars from Grace Kelly to Jennifer Lawrence.

Montage in a Christian Dior-New York salon with (from left to right) Christian Dior, Raymonde Zehnacker, Marguerite Carré, Mme Knoll and Mizza Bricard, 1948 Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives. BMA artist files

The presentation also explores the evolution of Maison Dior through the vision of its subsequent artistic directors, from Yves Saint Laurent, whose key influences included the beatniks and the 1953 film The Wild One, to Marc Bohan and his reign as nearly thirty years during the revolutionary 1960s and 1970s, as well as the 1980s, when Bohan drew
inspiration from Jackson Pollock. Other creations by the art directors include architectural designs by Gianfranco Ferré from the 1990s; John Galliano’s reinvention of Dior silhouettes inspired by works as diverse as Egyptian sculpture and paintings by Giovanni Boldini; Raf Simons’ minimalist interpretation of original Dior creations; and pieces by the current and first artistic director of the Dior women’s collections, Maria Grazia Chiuri, who brought a new vision to the historic fashion house. Notably, in 2016, Chiuri launched T-shirts featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s statement! “We should all be feminists” and pledged that the official images in every new collection be photographed by women. As the only major museum in the country to have galleries and a collection dedicated to feminist art – the Sackler Center – the Brooklyn Museum is uniquely suited for an exploration of Chiuri’s groundbreaking initiatives to defend
creative women.

Florence Müller, Curator of Textile Art and Fashion for the Avenir Foundation at the Denver Art Museum, said: “From 1947, with his famous ‘New Look’ collection, Christian Dior transformed his sudden notoriety into an international expansion of his Maison, becoming a forerunner of contemporary globalized fashion. The opening of the first New York branch in 1948 was a prelude to this worldwide fame. Following the presentation of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams in Paris and London, the new Brooklyn Museum exhibition pays tribute to this unique historical fashion adventure initiated between Paris and New York.

“The Brooklyn Museum has long recognized important contributions to the history of fashion design, from The Story of Silk (1934) to the innovative Of Men Only (1976) to the recent Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion (2019 ) and now Christian. Dior: Creator of Dreams. Each exemplifies the power of fashion to influence and change visual culture as a whole, ”said Matthew Yokobosky, senior curator of fashion and material culture, Brooklyn Museum. “Today, the work of Maria Grazia Chiuri has reshaped the Dior dream for a new generation, with a worldview that brings with it inclusiveness and respect as key philosophical guidelines. We couldn’t be more excited to present these innovative, alluring and technically exceptional designs to our audience.


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