I went on a whim.   No one has ever called me ‘fashionable’ when it comes to clothing!

I went not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised at what I encountered.   The majority of the exhibit consists of dresses designed by Christian Dior from 1947 to 1957.

people looking at the Christian Dior exhibit at the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum

Christian Dior was born in a seaside town in northern France in 1905.  He began his career in fashion by selling fashion sketches in the early 1930’s after a failed attempt to run an art gallery.  This led to a job as a design assistant with Paris couturier Robert Piguet.   His career took off after WW2 when he started his own business, House of Dior (Maison Dior), in 1947.

a red knee-length dress in the foreground, a black one in the background, also a black and white striped dress, part of a museum display of Christian Dior clothing

below: This simple but classy two piece dress with black cummerbund is from Dior’s 1948 autumn-winter collection.   It is made with black velvet with iridescent bead work.  The bottom part is a mid-calf length skirt with the same beading.   Actually, the words simple and classy describe most of the dresses here.

two headless mannequins with black dresses, upper parts only are shown, part of a ROyal Ontario museum exhibit dress in foreground has iridescent beads sewn on it

below:  Embroidery with beads and stacked sequins in intricate designs.

close up shot of the back of dress that is heavily ebroidered and beaded in blue and purple floral motifs

below: The fabulous colours of fabric samples – this is only a small part of the display of fabrics with “a silk warp and a dupion weft”.  Warp and weft are weaving terms – warp refers to the threads that run lengthwise down the fabric while weft refers to the crosswise threads.   Dupion is similar to silk but it is thicker and more uneven.

silk fabric samples of many different colour

below: This dress is made from the silk fabric described above.

pale blue grey silk Christian Dior dress in the background, a red and a black dress are in the background, ROM exhibit,

beige suit, jacket and skirt. Jacket has tailored waist and 6 very large mother of pearl buttons,

Christian Dior’s success as a designer and a businessman continued until 1957 when he died while on vacation in Italy.  Yves Saint Laurent spent a few years as the Artistic Director immediately after Dior’s death although he was only 21.  There have been countless designers and many changes since then but the the company still exists as part of LVMH.   I was surprised to learn that the full name of the company is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.  I also hadn’t realized that many of the luxury brands that we recognize the names of are actually controlled/owned by 3 companies: LVMH, Kering, and Richemont.  If you have a few minutes, take a cruise through wikipedia.

part of an orange dress with cloth covered orange buttons on both the front and side

below: There was a small display of jewelry, including this necklace by Maison Gripoix.   It is a string of lily of the valley flowers made from green and white handmade glass paste.   Glass paste, or pâte de verre, is made by mixing finely ground glass, binding agents, and colour.  The resulting ‘paste; is molded and then kiln fired.  Apparently the lily of the valley was Christian Dior’s “lucky flower”.

Dior necklace with green glass leaves and white flowers made of beads, gold as well, large and short

The exhibit is presented by Holt Renfrew and you can find it on the 4th floor of the ROM…. until 18 March 2018. In the meantime, you can find more information on the ROM website.

 

#ROMDIOR

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