If your Instagram feed is anything like ours then you will not have failed to notice the high amount of attention that the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition is getting at the V & A Museum at the moment. Following its opening on the 2nd February, the exhibition which is held in the museum’s new Sainsbury wing, it has received an unprecedented amount of visitors.
The exhibition is currently sold out, with tickets being drip released around the 15th of each month and a few kept back each day on a first come first served basis. Members of the V&A however can still visit at their leisure and the London Embroidery School was lucky enough to visit the exhibition on members night in order to bring you our insight.
The London exhibition has a much greater focus on the individual designers of the House of Dior so if you had already seen it at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, then this version brings a different angle. Split into a series of sections, this part of the exhibition really gives you a sense of what each creative director has brought to the house. Furthermore it also highlights some of the key aspects of Dior as a fashion house, which holds all the designs together over the years. Identifying these values allows them to keep delivering pieces which are recognisably ‘Dior’.
Each rooms has its own sense of the wow factor with the paper cut flowers room, displaying some of the more romantic pieces amongst the flowers which were dripping from the ceiling. The centre piece of which is this gown embellished with hundreds of tiny cut feathers.
We can not cover this exhibition without mentioning the toile room. Probably the simplest room with its white cubes, it really brings home the process of producing couture garments and the work that goes into them. It is lovely to look around and recognise some of the dresses you have already seen the final versions of, in their developmental form. As well as taking the time to watch the series of videos they have on display amongst the toiles which show the making process of other Dior products such as shoes and jewellery from their specialist makers.
Some of the toiles have notes and annotations left on them which highlight the complexity of the pattern cutting when all the other details are stripped away in white.
From an embroiderers perspective, there is plenty to see and appreciate in this exhibition. The variety of styles and techniques is huge so whilst all the pieces may not necessarily be your taste, you can not help but be humbled by the skill.
Goldwork, raffia, feathers and beads all feature in this Galliano piece created for Dior by Lesage.
An interesting use of mesh appliques create the beatle wing/ petal effect amongst the sequins on this gown from the 1950’s.
Where else would you get the chance to get this up close and personal with dresses like this one, worn by Charlize Theron in the ‘J’adore’ adverts?
It is here that you can see that the sequins are tamboured onto the tuelle by hand with their joining stitches adding to the texture of the piece.
Some of the more contemporary pieces provide a different perspective on ‘les petite mains’ (the little hands; referring to the skilled makers that create the designers vision) that we get to see a modern application of traditional skills such as the use of beads and velvet in this a line evening gown.
Of course, there are also the iconic, historical pieces that you have probably glimpse before, like this gown worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st Birthday photoshoot.
If you find the opportunity, then this exhibition is a absolute must see for fashion, design and embroidery fans everywhere. Follow the link for all the booking details.
All photos courtesy of Natasha Searls-Punter
Dior: Designer of Dreams
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On now until 14th July 2019