Christian Dior was a designer of the world. While his legacy and impact has only amplified this sentiment, the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, first showcased at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 2017 to 2018, is proof in motion. Conceptualised as a retrospective that celebrates the couturier’s ties with art, heritage and various storied cities, it has since made its way to the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Victoria & Albert Museum in London and most recently, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, among others. The exhibition began its run on 21 December 2022 and will conclude on 28 May this year. It is also a homage to the maison’s long-standing relationship with Japan.
Under the creative direction of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams brings together a star-studded creative team. Lauded Japanese architect Shohei Shigematsu, fashion curator Florence Müller, milliner Stephen Jones and photographer Yuriko Takagi are just some of the names who have joined forces to emanate a vision that spans over 75 years. A partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture New York, which practises architecture, urbanism and cultural analysis, Shigematsu’s expertise punctuates the retrospective, taking inspiration from Christian Dior’s global influence. More intimately, he also pays homage to the couturier’s artistic influences, from the decor he was surrounded by as a child to his adoration of gardens and ornate balls.
Featuring 350 Dior creations in total, Shigematsu manifests this through an intricate maze of rooms that each encapsulate a specific theme. Visitors are first introduced to the exhibition by a room brimming with black-and-white variations of Dior’s famous New Look. A turn in unveils a never-before-seen archive of photographs, letters, sketches, fabrics and memorabilia indicative not only of Christian Dior’s relationship with Japan, but also the country’s deep-rooted history with fashion.
“It was the first time that a fashion designer was coming from the West to Japan.”
Shigematsu crowns the exhibition with a cascading installation of dresses, complete with ethereal waterfall-like projections. Shares Müller: “The team here in Tokyo did special research about the history of the link between Dior and Japan and they found a lot of documents in different archives and private collections. There were several texts speaking about this beautiful adventure because it was the first time that a fashion designer was coming from the West to Japan.”
Ardent fans of the maison will also enjoy a detailed retrospective of couture pieces from its iconic creative directors. From Gianfranco Ferre’s signature elegance and Marc Bohan’s modernism to John Galliano’s opulence and Raf Simons’s definitive designs, each era of Dior’s emblematic influence is captured through an assortment of intricate pieces, some of which have been unveiled to the public for the first time.
And as one would be hard-pressed to explore the universe of Dior without its ties to celebrity culture, marvel at some of its most recognisable designs, from theDior creations seen on Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Portman and Princess Diana. And the experience doesn’t end within the walls of the museum, either. Bring the beauty of Dior home with its augmented reality filter. Inspired by Takagi, the filter can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, until 28 May. Order your copy of the March ‘Roots’ issue of Vogue Singapore online or pick it up on newsstands today.