ROM has been widely promoting the exhibit and hosted select members of the media yesterday to provide them with an advance preview of this designer compilation.
The exhibition is timed to the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior. There are 100 objects on display—ranging from daywear and jewelry to fragrances and unique fragments of designer’s work, such as select sketches and fabric swatches with corresponding notes.
The items on display focus on the 10-year timeframe that was key to Dior: 1947 to 1957, when Christian Dior himself was at the helm of the House. The collection is thematically arranged into three sections: daytime (coats, suits and day dresses), late afternoon to evening (cocktails and dinner dresses) and evening (ball and formal gowns).
Presented by Holt Renfrew (the company that was first to bring Dior to Canada in the 1950s), the exhibition draws from ROM’s permanent collection of textiles and fashion, and is augmented with loans of accessories. Many of the pieces displayed were worn in Canada and donated by socialites of the period from Montréal and Toronto. In addition, the exhibition is enhanced by loans from Christian Dior Héritage; Maison Hurel in Paris; Musée d’Art et d’Industrie de Saint-Etienne; and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
Josh Basseches, ROM’s Director and CEO, said: “Few people have had as great an influence on shaping the modern aesthetic as Christian Dior. His standing among contemporary fashion designers remains central to this day. As the House of Dior celebrates its milestone anniversary, there is no better time for the ROM to share its extraordinary collection of Dior couture with audiences.”
ROM’s entire fashion assortment (including Dior and other designers) is highly impressive—in fact, Basseches shared at the event that the museum is host to the world’s third largest fashion collection.
Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the exhibition’s curator and ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator, spoke with FAJO prior to exhibition’s unveiling. “Just like champagne can only be made in Champagne, France, haute couture can only be made in Paris,” she said. “Today, fashion is very 2D because we mostly see it on screens, but these pieces are all beyond 3D. You will see dresses that weigh 8 pounds and have 50 feet of sewing in the hem. There may be a glimpse of mother of pearl and detailing that nobody has seen before.”
“Christian Dior was very influential,” she added. “He employed thousands of people who had hundreds of craft skills. Unlike the head of any other haute couture house, Dior also had exceptional business acumen. If you bought a Dior dress, you were never ‘out of fashion’.”
Palmer said that the Dior archives are extraordinary, since they provide even the most minute detail about each piece—for example, the name of the person who was in charge of making buttons for a given dress.
Palmer shared that she is also currently finalizing her upcoming companion book Christian Dior: History & Modernity, 1947–1957, which will be released next year.
Christian Dior is on display from Saturday, Nov.25, 2017 to Sunday, March 18, 2018. The exhibition is separately ticketed. Pricing for adults is $8 in addition to general admission, with free admission for ROM members.