DIOR at The ROM
“I wanted my dresses to be constructed like buildings, moulded to the curves of the female form, styling its shape.” – Christian Dior
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the Dior exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I was extremely excited about it as I am a great fan of Dior’s work. The exhibition looked at the first decade of his career. The designs, accessories, and perfumes that were created for a clientele of “habitually well-dressed women.” It explored the construction and materials to understand how the House reinvented modern dress-making, by reviving forgotten historical skills and fusing them with unprecedented cuts, designs and materials.*
After the Second World War, Dior wanted to create a lighter, more feminine silhouette from the rather drab wartime clothing. His first collection featured garments which accentuated the waist and bosom, with softer shoulders and long fuller skirts. He also took inspiration from 19th century fashions and offered designs with multiple parts for different occasions. For example a look could have two bodices, one for late afternoon and the other evening. These garments could only be described as masterpieces. They were often remarked upon as technically extraordinary. He also revived the art of cut, shaped, and boned corsetry.
It’s undeniable that Christian Dior is one of the most renowned fashion designers of the 20th century. In just 10 short years, he reinvented fashion. He created 22 collections during this time and accounted for 5 percent of all French exports. The workmanship in these garments was absolutely exquisite!
Two Bodices, Two Occasions – Christian Dior took inspiration from 19th century fashions and offered designs with multiple parts for different occasions. This two-piece dress has bodices for late-afternoon and evening, worn with the boned corset that is aided by the nylon pleated petticoat.
LATE AFTERNOON - EVENING
Dior introduced the cocktail dress in various lengths. These dresses were masterpieces of femininity and ingenuity that fused history and modernity, where an overskirt could also be worn as a cape.
“ A very energetic and beneficial colour. It is the colour of life. I love red and I think it suits almost every complexion. It is good for anytime, too.” – Christian Dior
“Black. The most popular and the most convenient and the most elegant of all colours…I could write a book about black…” – Christian Dior
Christian Dior drew upon historical styles from the 18th century such as off-the-shoulder dresses, wide crinolines and daring décolletages.
PERFUMES, SHOES & ACCESSORIES
“As a rule, I would say use jewellery generously to get the most out of it.” – Christian Dior
The House of Dior commissioned exclusive designs from leading makers such as Maison Gripoix, Roger Scémana and Francis Winter.
Delman-Christian Dior Shoes designed by Roger Vivier