This is the first retrospective exhibition in the United States to focus on the work of Christian Dior and the House of Dior, spanning over seven decades. The showstopping display includes 200 haute couture dresses, costume jewelry, photographs, runway videos, art objects, original sketches and other archival materials that trace the history of the iconic French fashion house, which Dior started in 1947.
Denver Art Museum show; Marc Bohan (1961 to 1989); Gianfranco Ferré (1989 to 1996); John Galliano (1997 to 2011); Raf Simons (2012 to 2015); and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016 to present). "Through the seven designers, you can see how they all brought their own sensibilities and their own vision to the house," says Florence Müller, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the DAM and curator of Dior: From Paris to the World. "Really, they brought their own way of reinventing fashion, style and trends. However, all of them were paying homage to the founder, Christian Dior. I think this is the key to the success of Dior, because it's one of the rare couture fashion houses in France that went through all of these decades without a disappearance. This house was always at the top of the global fashion game."
"Through the exhibition, you understand that couture is a serious work," she continues. "It is not art, it doesn't mimic art, but it is a form of art, a form of artistic expression that is truly important and inspired by all sorts of things, from paintings to movies to landscapes to ancient cultures. The designers are really people who have their minds full of images and references, and they are translated to these beautiful dresses. I hope guests will enjoy discovering this haute couture as an art piece."
Shohei Shigematsu, the exhibition designer, took visual cues from the metal and angular exterior of the Hamilton Building to create the Dior display. "There is a chance for architecture to engage the viewer in the exhibition because it is something new and experimental," he says. "Clothing can be commercial or a work of art. This exhibition allows us to be experimental in architectural design."
"It is so much more than placing a dress on a mannequin," explains Christoph Heinrich, director of the DAM. "There is a lot of work behind this to make it look so easy and glamorous. The show is organized by the Denver Art Museum; it is not a traveling show. So far, we only know that it is going to be here until March. It may go to other locations after that. It was organized from scratch by Müller. Ever since Florence joined us, this Dior show was on the radar and we were trying to figure out how to get it. This is a different show than the retrospective in Paris. This is how Dior reached out into the world, and that is the theme of this show."
And after seeing Dior: From Paris to the World, you'll come away with a great appreciation not just of Dior, but of the Denver Art Museum for creating this world-class exhibition.
Dior: From Paris to the World runs through March 3, 2019, at the Denver Art Museum. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.