The Dallas Museum of Art is opening a massive fashion show this weekend, featuring nearly 200 dresses, some 500 artifacts total – by seven leading designers. The show, called ‘Dior: From Paris to the World,’ follows the fashion house established by Christian Dior more than 70 years ago.
How big is the exhibition? Some 12,000 square feet, taking up 11 different ‘sections’ or galleries on the museum’s first floor. Plus, the DMA is providing artworks from its own collection, including paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keefe, to underscore the different approaches and colors in the fashions on display. Art & Seek’s Jerome Weeks reports, not surprisingly, the DMA is expecting turnaway crowds.
The exhibition, “Dior: From Paris to the World,” started in Paris and ran at the Denver Art Museum, the only American venue other than the DMA to host it. For Dallas, 30 new dresses have been added. And the architect Shohei Shigematsu has transformed the museum’s central barrel vault into what he called both a cathedral and a fashion catwalk.
Florence Müller is the Denver curator who originated the show. She told Rocky Mountain PBS why Christian Dior became such a towering figure in haute couture. In a dark era, he brought what was called ‘The New Look’ to luxury fashion: “Two years after the end of the Second World War, Christian Dior really re-invented the feminity with a lot of colors, with shapes that were really beautiful.” Dior originally wanted to be an architect and it was his more relaxed, body-conforming shape – as opposed to the boxier style that had prevailed – that truly revolutionized women’s apparel.
Just at that moment, Dallas made a strong, important connection with Dior. In 1947, the designer traveled to the city – his first trip to the U. S. – to accept the Neiman Marcus Award for distinguished service to fashion from Stanley Marcus, founder of Neiman Marcus and an early supporter when not everyone appreciated what Dior was doing.
The exhibition also includes thirteen works by designer Yves St. Laurent and and 45 from John Galliano – all from when they headed up the House of Dior. The DMA is expecting such a strong reception it’s selling timed tickets to the show, which runs through September 1st. But on Sunday, June 2nd, entry to the exhibition will be free for visitors under 18 and students with a valid school ID – thanks to Neiman Marcus Youth and Student Days. Timed tickets will be released on a first-come, first-served basis. An adult with a paid ticket must accompany youths and students under age 16. A second Neiman Marcus Day will occur before the exhibition closes.
The full press release:
Dallas Museum of Art Opens Its Presentation of the First Major U.S. Retrospective of the House of Dior on May 19, 2019
Exhibition Celebrates More Than 70 Years of the French House’s Legacy and Influence And Includes New Looks Exclusive to the DMA
Dallas, TX – May 14, 2019 – The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is pleased to present Dior: From Paris to the World, which surveys more than 70 years of the House of Dior’s legacy and global influence, after its enormously successful debut at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). Opening in Dallas on May 19, the exhibition will now feature a selection of 30 new looks from Dior, including vintage couture by Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, and updated works from Maria Grazia Chiuri, which will be seen for the first time in the Dallas presentation. The DMA is the only other US venue for this extensive and highly anticipated retrospective of the celebrated haute couture house, described by the Wall Street Journal as “an epic enterprise . . . timelessly elegant yet avant-garde.” The exhibition in Dallas is presented by PNC with leadership support provided by Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers.
Dior: From Paris to the World will feature a selection of almost 200 haute couture dresses, as well as accessories, photographs, original sketches, runway videos and other archival material, and trace the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house. Dior: From Paris to the World also will profile its founder, Christian Dior, and subsequent artistic directors, including Yves Saint Laurent (1958–1960), Marc Bohan (1961–1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989–1996), John Galliano (1997–2011), Raf Simons (2012–2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016–present), who have carried Dior’s vision into the 21st century.
Organized by DAM and curated by Florence Müller, the DAM’s Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion, the exhibition is designed by Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner and Director of the global firm’s New York office. Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design and Chief Interim Curator at the DMA, curates the Dallas presentation. Spanning more than seven decades, this retrospective will offer a new perspective on the fashion house’s legacy following the Paris exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
“The House of Dior has been a legendary force in fashion and visual culture for decades and continues to be an important influence that blurs the lines between fashion and art,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “Dallas has long recognized the artistic significance of Dior, most notably when in 1947, early in his career, Christian Dior traveled here to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. We are excited to welcome this innovative creative voice back to our city and to offer DMA audiences the opportunity to be inspired by the remarkable legacy of a global icon.”
Christian Dior generated a revolution in Paris and around the globe after World War II in 1947 with his New Look collection. Dior, the art gallerist who became a celebrated couturier, completely shed the masculine silhouette that had been established during the war, expressing modern femininity with his debut collection. Dior’s sophisticated designs, featuring soft shoulders, accentuated busts, nipped waists, and dancing corolla shaped skirts, were inspired by his passion for flowers. The result was elegant feminine contours that brought a breath of fresh air to the fashion world through luxurious swaths of fabrics, revolutionary design and lavish embroidery. This marked the beginning of an epic movement in fashion history that would eventually lead to Dior successfully becoming the first worldwide couture house.
The Museum will mount this major exhibition with loans from the esteemed Dior Héritage Collection, many of which have rarely been seen outside of Europe, with additional loans from major institutions. The presentation, showcasing pivotal themes in the House of Dior’s global history, will focus on how Christian Dior cemented his fashion house’s reputation within a decade and established the house worldwide—as well as highlight how his successors adeptly incorporated their own design aesthetic.
“The history and impact of The House of Dior is the result of a convergence of several artistic directors who have made visionary, yet distinct, contributions to the French haute couture house,” said Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the DMA. “The exhibition takes audiences through more than seven decades of innovation, bringing together the most exciting, dynamic, and pivotal pieces.”
Visitors also will be able to capture the unique technique of the Dior ateliers in a dramatic visual display presenting a glimpse into this secret world, including sketches, toiles, and the intricate process of embroidery. The atelier represents the heart of the house where seamstresses work with Dior’s creative directors to collaboratively bring couture to life.
Dior: From Paris to the World is organized by the Denver Art Museum in association with the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition in Dallas is presented by PNC with leadership support by Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers.
“PNC has a legacy of investing in the communities we serve through support of the arts, as we understand the economic, social, and civic impacts that a thriving arts and culture community has on our city,” said Brendan McGuire, PNC regional president and head of Corporate Banking for Dallas-Ft. Worth. “The opportunity to continue our strategic partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, as they create local access to globally renowned exhibitions, is fundamental to our work in the arts community.”
Major exhibition support provided by Dior, Charlie and Moll Anderson Family Foundation, Ann and Lee Hobson, Gene and Jerry Jones Family, and Cindy Rachofsky. Additional generous support provided by Audi, Neiman Marcus, Georgina Hartland, Nasiba and Thomas Hartland-Mackie, Highland Park Village, Air France, and MCL Construction. Marketing support provided by the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, Modern Luxury, and Paper City Magazines, and WFAA Television Channel 8. Accommodations provided by the OMNI Dallas Hotel. Event support provided by Todd Events, Whispering Angel, and POSH Couture Rentals. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Tickets for Dior: From Paris to the World can be purchased in advance at DMA.org. Due to the popularity of the exhibition and the high number of expected visitors, all visitors and DMA Members must have a timed ticket. The Tuesday–Thursday weekday ticket price for adults is $20 and tickets for Friday–Sunday are $25.
On Sunday, June 2, entry to the exhibition will be FREE for visitors under age 18 and students with a valid school ID for Neiman Marcus Youth and Student Days. Timed tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. An adult with a paid ticket must accompany youth and students under age 16. Youth and students entering the exhibition without an adult will be required to present an ID card with age verification to receive their free tickets. A second Neiman Marcus Youth and Student Day will occur before the exhibition closes.