In the world of fashion, haute couture is the highlight of every season. If you are not familiar with haute couture, here is a quick definition creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. There are many fashion houses that offer these masterpieces but very few have the reputation of making some of the most cutting edge piece along with the history to back them up. It just so happens that the Dallas Museum of Art hosted a special exhibit featuring some of the fashion house Dior’s greatest creations along with piece of the house’s historical archive. So let’s dive in to the world of haute couture and discover Dior: Paris to the World.
The exhibit opens into a hallway filled with key pieces that features Dior’s classic feminine frame mixed with masculine features that was Dior’s original style. He first presented his fashion forward line in 1947. His innovative work captured audience in Paris and his style quickly spread to various parts of the world. His styles quickly became a favorite among starlets like Marilyn Monroe. He had a team dedicated to the delicate process of hand making this masterpieces and tailoring them to their clientele. He conducted the house like a well oiled machine. You can find photographs from the Dior workshop where Christian Dior presented his collection to his team before assign the work that needed to be done.
Haute Couture is a timely process. Designers first have to create ideas for their collection for the season. They often use a mood board to help capture the feelings and theme they are aiming for with the collection. From their designers will create a series of sketches for the pieces that they will make for the collection. They are often times rough sketches with no complex detail. In other words, a basic outline for the look. If the designer is satisfied with his collection design then he will begin taking fabric samples to match to the design in order to create the effect he or she desires. These samples are often no bigger than 3 inches. From there, the designs are created using muslin. This cheap fabric is used to finalize the details because it is cheaper and easier to fix mistakes or rearrange a design with muslin that may cost $10 than $300 worth of velvet fabric. These muslin creation are to scale and give the design along with his team a good sense of the complexities that they could encounter when creating the final piece. Once everyone has signed off on the adjustments, it is time to create the piece in full scale. These piece require precision and details that can only be completed with trained hands. Even the pressed fabric flowers used in the pieces require an expert. Some pieces could require a painter to add dyes with delicate brushes in order to create the desired detailing. After months in the making, the collection is complete and ready to be shown to the world.
Christian Dior sadly passed away in 1957, which left the house of Dior in search of a new visionary to guide them. Yves Saint Laurent took up the mantle and added his own style to Dior’s cutting edge haute couture. He left the Dior house to create his own line and makeup brand. Several other designers have taken on the mantle of being head design for the haute couture lines at Dior. They all added their own voice and pushing the bounds of haute couture. They took inspiration from all the traditions and fashion trends across the world to make this brand able to transcend from the Paris runways. The exhibit even took the care to present the dress with some of the pieces of art that was a particular looks inspiration. There is a reason why Dior has become a famous house that has mastered haute couture.
I love that the collection not only presented completed collections from the different head designers over the years but videos of the creation process for some of the collections most iconic pieces. I was able to be gobsmacked over the original sketches along with seeing and connecting with the inspiration behind each piece. I was able to view the pieces worn by Marilyn Monroe, Lady Gaga, and other important female celebrities over the years. Where else can you do that?
Dior: Paris to the World gave me an appreciation for haute couture and the empire that Christian Dior created. His legacy of mixing styles and making sure his women were decked head to toe in his merchandise has left the world clamoring for more. So make sure to stop by the Dallas Museum of Art to catch this special exhibit before it moves onto the next city!