In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of The House of Dior’s debut spring-summer 1947 collection, the National Gallery of Victoria presents the never-before-seen exhibition The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International from 27 August to 7 November 2017.

Exclusive to Melbourne, the exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior, Paris, and features a sumptuous display of over 140 garments from Christian Dior Couture designed between 1947 and 2017.

Installation view of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International, 27 August – 7 November 2017 – Photo: Sean Fennessy

The NGV has announced that two Dior haute couture works, especially commissioned for and acquired by the gallery, will be on display in the exhibition. They are Essence d’Herbier from the spring–summer 2017 collection, designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Look 10, Bar coat from the autumn-winter 2012–13 collection, designed by Raf Simons.

Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house) Raf Simons (designer)
Look 10, Bar coat 2012, autumn−winter 2012–13

Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house) Maria Grazia Chiuri (designer)
Essence d’Herbier spring–summer 2017

To celebrate the opening, the NGV is also delighted to welcome artisans from the Christian Dior Couture atelier in Paris, who will be working on couture garments in the exhibition space during the first and last weeks of the exhibition, demonstrating the extraordinary technical skills of Christian Dior Couture.

Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house) John Galliano (designer)
Models wearing spring−summer 1997

Other highlights include examples from Christian Dior’s iconic Spring 1947 ‘New Look’ collection, which is considered a groundbreaking moment in the history of fashion, magnificent displays of Dior’s signature ballgowns and evening dresses, as well as recent designs from the House’s first female Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house) John Galliano (designer)
Théodora, evening ensemble 1997

Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house) John Galliano (designer)
Kamata, ballgown 1997

Drawing primarily on material from the House of Dior archive and the NGV Collection, the exhibition also features accessories, sketches, photographs, haute couture toiles (prototypes) and multimedia.

Christian Bérard Illustration of the Bar, afternoon ensemble 1947

Christian Dior draping fabric over fashion mannequin Sylvie c. 1948

The exhibition narrates the rich history of the fashion house, including Christian Dior’s early influences, the design codes synonymous with Dior, and the milestones of its six successive designers following Christian Dior’s sudden death in 1957. These comprise of Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Christian Dior mannequins in the salon of House of Dior’s headquarters, 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris 1957

The exhibition will also explore Dior’s unique affinity with Australia, including the historic spring 1948 fashion parade at David Jones, Sydney, which featured 50 original creations by Christian Dior. This was the first representative Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.

Presentation of the Adélaïde ensemble from the spring−summer 1948, haute couture collection, during the Christian Dior parade at David Jones, Sydney, July−August 1948

Dior boxes arriving in Sydney for the Christian Dior parade to be shown at David Jones, July–August 1948

There will also be a section dedicated to fabulous accessories, particularly shoes and millinery. This room will highlight the work of Stephen Jones, who has created elaborate headpieces for John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. For this exhibition, Jones has also designed over 50 bespoke headpieces, which can be seen throughout the display.

Installation view of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International, 27 August – 7 November 2017  – Photo: Sean Fennessy

Installation view of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International, 27 August – 7 November 2017  – Photo: Sean Fennessy

Featuring one of the NGV’s most ambitious exhibition designs to date, the display features a grand, sweeping staircase leading to a mezzanine level from which visitors can enjoy a birds-eye view of the vast array of garments on show. This feature is inspired by the iconic staircase from the Paris couture house that has featured in countless photoshoots and fashion parades over the House’s seventy-year history.

Installation view of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International, 27 August – 7 November 2017  – Photo: Sean Fennessy

The exhibition opening will be celebrated with the inaugural NGV Gala, a ticketed, black-tie ball on Saturday 26 August 2017. The proceeds from this event will go toward supporting the NGV Fashion and Textiles Collection.

Source: National Gallery of Victoria