Lovers of hats, sparkles and glamour rejoice! After missing out on the Dior exhibition last year at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris due to insurmountable queues I simply had to go and see  CHRISTIAN DIOR : Designer of Dreams  during my stay in London this August.

Dior was born in Normandy in 1905, the son of a wealthy industrialist; it was his parents who bankrolled his first venture, a Paris gallery, even if they would not allow him to put the family name above the door. In 1931, however, his mother died and his father lost all his money, at which point the feeling that Christian’s artistic leanings were not quite the thing (they’d hoped for a diplomat) ceased to matter. Having retrained as a fashion illustrator, he worked as a designer, first for Robert Piguet and then for Lucien Lelong. Finally, in 1946, he established his own house at 30 Avenue Montaigne, with three ateliers and a staff of 85. Ten years later, he had 28 ateliers and 1,000 staff, not to mention a perfume collection and a pale-faced assistant who went by the name of Yves St Laurent.

The most-visited exhibition ever ran from 2 February to 1 September 2019, and reached a total of 594, 994 visitors, even surpassing the former record set by  Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty  ( which I was fortunate enough to enjoy during my memorable stay in New York in 2011) by over 100,000 attendees.

It was the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior, tracing the history and impact of the brand from 1947 to the present day.

On display were more than 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, vintage perfume, original make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

The exhibition covered everything you would expect from the New Look era, and to my delight had plenty of modern pieces from creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri.

And if you are a fan of Stephen Jones then ding ding ding – you  hit the hat jackpot. The exhibition itself had hundreds of hats on display.

I have never seen so much silk satin, so many boned bodices and knife-edge pleats.

Dior was a consummate professional, indeed and he could do it all (though, please, don’t come expecting trousers): the neatest suit; the most enviable black dress (oh, to own a frock as immaculate as the Nonette from 1950, with its priestly white cotton pique bib); an adorable evening gown (the Sonnet dress of 1952, in plum silk with bows at exactly the spot – the hips – where a man might place his hands and whirl you round).

One room was organised by colour and had me in full swoon. I’ve never seen a more glamorous rainbow.

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