2018 started in style with a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) Christian Dior exhibit, presented by Holt Renfrew. This beautiful exhibit focuses on the first ten years of Christian Dior haute couture from 1947 - 1957, which also revived Paris's haute couture industry following World War II. The ROM's Senior Curator, Dr Alexandra Palmer, has drawn upon the museum's extensive collection and offers insights into the creative process and mechanics of the fashion industry in Paris during this time period.
It is also the 70th anniversary of the House of Christian Dior, and it is amazing to see so many beautiful day and evening wear designs on display, as well as examples of textiles, patterns, and embroidery. The exhibition looks at the construction of the designs created under Christian Dior, and considers why the cut and design of the clothing made the 'New Look' so successful. The 'New Look' was unveiled on February 12, 1947 when Dior presented his first collection.
The exhibit features more than 100 objects, including 38 designs, ranging from daytime to late evening wear. Enhancing the show are a series of images, accessories, and embroideries from Christian Dior Heritage, Christian Dior Parfums; Maison Hurel; Musee d'Art et d'Industrie de Saint-Etienne; Musee du Pays Rabastinois; the Bata Shoe Museum; and several private lenders. This collection has been built and researched over decades, and this is the first time the Dior collection (1947-1957) will be on display as a full exhibition, drawing upon the permanent collection of Textiles and Fashion.
The ROM’s significant collection of textiles and fashions is the largest in Canada, and ranks among the top three collections in the world. With over 55,000 pieces, the collection is global and cross-cultural, ranging from BCE to present day, with spectacular examples from across the world. For the past 100 years, this encyclopaedic collection has been recognized as one of the world’s finest, a reputation strengthened by pioneering ROM research, exhibitions, and publications.
This show is grouped thematically to explore. It is arranged by Day Wear (coats, suits, and day dresses), Late Afternoon to Evening (cocktails and dinner dresses), and Evening (ball and formal gowns). Many of the pieces on display were worn in Canada and donated by socialites from the period from cities such as Montreal and Toronto. It was fantastic to learn more about the stories behind the dresses and the women who wore them.
During the exhibition's run, the ROM will be hosting a series of lectures and events to explore different aspects of the groundbreaking work of Dior, including talks by the Director of Dior, Heritage Soizic Pfaff, and fashion historian, Florence Muller. Check out the ROM's website for the full programme and what's coming up. The ROM is also publishing a companion book written by the show's curator, Dr Alexandra Palmer, entitled Christian Dior: History & Modernity 1947 - 1957. It will be available at Holt Renfrew and major book retailers.
The Christian Dior exhibition runs until March 18, 2018. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at the ROM, and is free for members.