Christian Dior, designer of dreams at the V&A

Written by Lizzie James

Photographs, video-games, furniture, sculptures, architecture, paintings…. The V&A really has you covered if you’re an art fiend like me.

The V&A’s permanent collection of fashion is extensive on its own and every now and then there is a special exhibition. The latest collection looks at Christian Dior; the most well renowned influence in the fashion world, from mid-twentieth century until now.

It is the biggest V&A installation since ‘Savage Beauty’, the Alexander McQueen tribute, which inevitably it on the tip of everybody’s tongue when talking of comparisons.

Dior made his name in post-war Paris, creating full skirts and wide shoulders with padding, exuberance and style. With no more clothing rations or shortages, the abundance of cloth and reams and reams of fabric was a parade of wealth – where for years there had been only war.

Following the story of Dior through 11 curated rooms, the completely handmade dresses displayed that and more. Influences, themes and trends are all magically unveiled with clever lighting, music and stages with each room better than the last.

Timeless design juxtaposed with the recent

This exhibition is a collaboration of the design house’s founder and its six succeeding artistic directors – Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior’s first female, and current, director). Take your time, stand in a corner and observe the dazzling moment.

Enjoy lunch in the wall tiled café, accompanied by an ambient piano, or – if the weather permits it – take your patisserie and cup of tea to the gardens.

Saving the best until last: The Ball Room. Fairytale-esque with its gloss and sparkly floors, celestial ceiling blurring from day to starry night. Flaunting the mesmerising glamour gowns worn by starts and royalty alike. Does haute couture get any more immersive than when paired with renaissance paintings, mirrored walls and solar eclipses?

Free day, popped a penny or two in the donations on the way out

As for art… They’re the best

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, supported by Swarovski, runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019 at the V&A Museum, South Kensington.