Christian Dior at Musée des Arts Décos, don’t rush!

A Leonor Fini painting of Hermès, 1932 and a woman’s buste by Salvador Dali in painted bronze 1933, were part of Christian Dior’s collection

The event of the summer in Paris is the Christian Dior exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. So obvioulsy, having missed the opening on the Fourth of July, I went to see the show as soon as I was back from celebrating with fireworks in Marblehead, Ma. And little did I know ! There was a line all the way to the Tuileries gardens… So don’t rush, the show is on till January 7.

Christian Dior at home in his apartment of 10 rue Royale, 1947 © Gettyimages / Frank Scherschel

I will not tell you how I got in without queuing for fear of retaliations but once I was in the show which occupies both sides of the museum, I could not move nor breathe. The air conditioning was off and millions of young French and International girls were giggling and loving the show. What I can tell you is that the scenography by Nathalie Crinière is a treasure of inventiveness. Very varied and so clever.

I recommend that you start with la Grande Nef on the right for you will see a chronological description of the different designers after Christian Dior and a grand gallery on three levels of most best sellers in black, in white and in color. Starting with Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohan who were both brilliant artists. I wonder if Marc Bohan left his hideaway of Chatillon sur Seine to attend the opening? All around the Grande Nef, little rooms show each designer of the hOuse of Dior one by one. Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. It is quite moving. The display is fabulous with great luxury spent on the decors.

On the other side, in the Museum of Fashion itself, the show starts with Christian Dior’s art collections and furniture. It is spendid. He used to run an art gallery in Paris in the thirties and was a keen lover of furniture and paintings. So all through the exhibition, 18 th century works are shown among the models. The first rooms are very dark with lit photographs, and one has a hard time enjoying the dresses. But the variety of decors is such that one room offers respite from the other. It seems like a dance with different tempos…

Yves Saint Laurent succeeded to Christian Dior

So take your time, allow yourself at least two hours, or go back a second time to visit this enormous show. You will enjoy the crowded show cases and the series of accessories exhibited by colour themes. I did not like the last round room devoted to perfumes which looks like a commercial booth at Printemps department store but this tribute to one of France’s greatest couturiers is impressive and Olivier Gabet, director of the Museum must be proud of himself and of Florence Müller, the cocurator .

Marc Bohan , Spring Summer 1969, mini dress in Abraham’s cotton gabardine for Christian Dior

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