Last Sunday morning my destination was located in the vicinity of the Louvre, La Comédie Française and Palais Royale. Upon my arrival at Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs, I was engulfed by a bustling wave of tourists queuing at its entrance. Rue de Rivoli was flooded with those eager to celebrate the glitz and glamour of Christian Dior's timeless creations.
The queue curled along a second street behind the corner. Pedestrians were getting utterly shocked and frustrated by the sheer length and width of the group before them. Someone protested, "I've never seen that many people visiting a single exhibition!" The guards were fervently reassuring that "it won't take long at all to get in". And it didn't - everyone seemed lost in expectations about the beauty they were about to see.
About an hour later we got in - into a rotunda showcasing one of Dior's most famous suits put behind glass. You're directed into pitch-dark rooms which cast vivid light on family photographs taken at Villa des Rhumbs in Granville (now the Christian Dior museum), raw sketches featured in Le Figaro, movie excerpts for which Dior created the costume designs, personal items like his Order of Légion d'Honneur.
On one wall hang portraits of Dietrich, de Havilland and Hayworth attending défilés. Another features Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton's promo portraits of models. And yet another, illuminates a petite masterpiece of haute-couture worn by Princess Margaret’s for her infamous 21st birthday portrait. You're reminded of Dior being Hollywood and royalty’s first choice, despite his late début.
The exhibition weaves its way through Dior's early life and pours into a section dedicated to his debut as a gallery owner whose efforts helped established the careers of such artists like Picasso, Manray, Dalí and Giacometti. You suddenly find yourself into a long passage that holds a mesmerizing collection of accessories and miniature garment designs - a rainbow of each and every nuance from the color spectrum applied on shoes, bags, dresses, brooches, perfume bottles, lipsticks, hats and jewels.
The second part of the exhibition's dedicated to the couturiers whose work for the House of Dior's imbedded in its later history: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons... Each section portrays different interpretations of themes - various historical periods, patterns, seasons, paintings - all unified by Dior's vibrant timelessness and style.
The final room completes the richest and most vibrant of fashion exhibitions ever held in Paris, the city of couture. It's perhaps an allusion to Versailles' Hall of Mirrors and radiates a fairytale atmosphere. It's here that you'll find gowns worn by icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana at Oscar ceremonies, Cannes film festivals and private receptions.
Don't miss this memorable tribute to haute couture spanning hundreds of pieces and an overwhelming amount of talent and genius that changed the course of fashion history!