Designer of Dreams: Dior 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 eclectic 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 garments are juxtaposed with the modern in this exhibition. The collaboration of the house’s founder and his succeeding artistic directors – namely Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri – is there to be gawked at. Take your time, stand in a corner and observe the dazzling moment.

The museum is simply a building of flair and grace, 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 glossy and sparkly floors, celestial ceiling blurring from day to starry night. Flaunting the mesmerising gowns, glamour embodied, worn by starts and royalty alike. Does haute couture get any more immersive than when paired with renaissance paintings, mirrored walls and solar eclipses?

As for art… They’re the best.

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