Sometimes you just have to see something beautiful, so I paid a visit to “Dior: From Paris to the World,” a sweeping exhibition on view at the Denver Art Museum.
And beautiful it is, not just in terms of the designs by the various creative directors for the House of Dior since Christian Dior founded the fashion house in 1947.
The installation is stunning: The installation designer worked with the interior architecture of the galleries on the Hamilton Building’s second floor. Architect Shohei Shigematsu, director of the New York office of OMA, used curves and dramatic viewpoints to complement the angular floor pattern determined by the Martin and McCormick galleries. It’s like a walk in the woods, with something like 200 garments positioned on either side of the path.
When I arrived at the museum for the 10 a.m. time slot, I was in line behind a group of about 40 high school students. After they tinkered with the audio guides, we moved into the galleries. Suddenly, everything got very quiet. The students were caught up in the show – no surprise there. Most of the couture dresses (and accessories) are from the Dior Héritage Collection, which also has provided some archival material, including price lists sent to customers many years ago.
“Dior” was curated by Florence Müller, the DAM’s Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion. Müller’s first project at the DAM was curating “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective,” which wowed visitors in 2012. The museum brought her on board in 2015 – a smart move.
Between the expertise of Müller and Shigematsu, “Dior” is a feast for the eyes, but also a chance to study the evolution of different design directors and their place in time leading a legendary fashion house.
Below are links to stories on two architectural websites, addressing the installation, with wonderful photographs. The image used here is the cover of a booklet distributed at the show, containing a list of every dress/suit/ballgown/accessory in the exhibition.