“Everything I know, see or hear, every part of my life is transformed into dresses. They are my daydreams, but they have passed from dreamland into the world of everyday items to wear.” (Christian Dior)
One day, doing a quick click through Instagram stories, a Dior dress caught my eye. I immediately slowed down to enjoy the glory of these beautiful gowns, and then of course wanted to know where they were. This is how I learned about the Dior: Dressmaker of Dreams exhibit at the Victoria & Albert. I was excited to see that it was on display during the time I planned to be in London. Dior is, hands-down, my absolute favorite designer. My basic silhouette in life is based mainly on Dior dresses, and if I could have everything one of them in my closet I would. Dior is probably the only designer I would ever pay upwards of thousands of dollars to buy clothes from if I ever had that kind of money to throw around. So long story short, I had to go!
I went to the Victoria & Albert website to buy tickets. It was completely sold out for the rest of it’s run. I resigned myself that I wouldn’t be able to see the exhibit… and then I learned that members are the exception. If you buy a membership, you can attend all special exhibitions for free without getting a ticket in advance. Was it pricey? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. (And I’m totally justifying it my saying I’m supporting the arts for the year.)
Just prepare yourself for the exhibit in all it’s glory. I’m going to try to break up the pictures with text, but it’s just going to be a lot of me saying how gorgeous everything is! So if you can’t go yourself, don’t worry: I photographed my entire journey through it and am sharing it today.
The exhibit is, dresses aside, absolutely gorgeous. Whoever curated the displays was a genius. From the moment you walk in, you feel the glamour of Dior. It’s like being on a runway in the 1950’s experiences these beautiful creations. The black dress with the red floral design is one of my favorite pieces:
There was even an original Dior on display that was once worn by Queen Elizabeth.
The exhibit is divided into eleven sections that showcase different aspects of Dior’s career. It includes his successors as the head designer of the company as well as multiple garments designed by Dior himself at the beginning of his career.
The next section was the travel section, which showed off the influence of his travels on his designs. This room featured both Dior and his successors.
Moving through the exhibit, the next room was all flower influence, and I would venture to say is probably the most popular room of the exhibit. I’m basing this mostly on the fact that this was where people were lingering over the dresses the most.
For the life of me, I can’t remember what the theme of the next room was but it was just as amazing as the rooms leading up to it. If I’m being completely honest, I was swooning over the flower room still and probably didn’t even register what the next room was all about. (As I’m looking at the pictures, I’m realizing/remembering that it’s a focus on the various successors of Dior.)
The next room is the one that made me HAVE to see the exhibit: the Ateliers! Sewists know them as “toilet” or “muslins,” and they are the practice versions of dresses that are made before the real version. This room was crazy bright white after the previous room, which only added to the impact of it.
The exhibit then took the viewer down a hall of Dior influences, from magazines to more fashion. I actually don’t have a ton of pictures from this section, mainly because the dresses were behind glass and it was usually reflecting the wall behind me, making the pictures little unclear. However, I did manage to get a few:
Once you’ve walked through the hall of Dior influences, you reach the super glamorous ballroom. It’s, of course, full of ballgowns and the room is designed to have a night and day effect with the lighting. If you stand in it long enough, you can see the dresses in a number of different lights.
The ballgown room featured one of my favorite Dior dresses of all time: Juno. This gown was one of the influences for the Glinda costume in Wicked. I saw this dress in person a few years ago when it was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it doesn’t make it any less special to see it in person again. I just love the details on this one, from the skirt petals to the sparkly details that grace the edges of all of them. I would wear this dress in a heartbeat.
This is the dress when I saw it on display at the Met:
A quote from Dior on display in this room said, “A ballgown is your dream, and it must make you a dream.” I definitely agree.
The ballgown room was the last major stop in the exhibit. As you exit, there is one more dress in a mirrored room before you get to the gift shop (where I, of course, had to buy the exhibit book and a tote bag).
I loved everything about this exhibit and this was one of my favorite stops on the entire trip. It makes me want to learn everything I can about Dior and his designs.