TORONTO, August 8, 2107 – In celebration of the House of Dior’s 70th anniversary, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce a new exhibition featuring signature pieces from one of the Museum’s most treasured, yet rarely seen collections. Opening on November 25, 2017, Christian Dior, presented by Holt Renfrew, focuses on the ground-breaking early designs of famed couturier Monsieur Christian Dior.
Spanning the years 1947 to 1957, the exhibition explores Dior’s masterful creations which revived the Paris haute couture industry following the Second World War. In 1947, the opening of the new couture house and the presentation of Christian Dior’s revolutionary New Look—with soft shoulders, padded hips, and long, full skirts—swept away the masculine wartime styles. One of the most important designers of the 20th century, Christian Dior’s feminine fashions were desired, worn, and emulated by women around the world.
Josh Basseches, the ROM’s Director and CEO, says: “It is safe to say that few people have had as great an influence on shaping the modern aesthetic as Christian Dior. His standing among contemporary fashion designers remains central to this day. As the House of Dior celebrates its milestone anniversary, there is no better time for the ROM to share our extraordinary collection of Dior couture with audiences. This exhibition is another example of the Museum’s ongoing commitment to addressing topics that engage our visitors and feel relevant to their lives.”
On display in the ROM’s Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, the exhibition is arranged thematically by Day (coats, suits, and day dresses); late Afternoon to early Evening (cocktails and dinner dresses); and Grand Occasion (ball and formal gowns). Featuring 40 designs, many of which were worn by Toronto’s socialites of the period, the pieces are contextualized with Dior accessories and perfumes, and augmented by contemporary film, sketches, fashion photographs, and advertisements.
Dr. Alexandra Palmer is the exhibition’s curator, author of the award-winning book, Dior: A New Look, A New Enterprise (V&A, 2009) and the ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Fashion Costume Curator. She says: “Christian Dior’s revolutionary fashions captured the excitement of post war modernity and have stood the test of time. This was made possible with the work of numerous industries and artisans who produced extraordinary ribbons, beads, sequins, and embroideries that Dior incorporated into his dresses with the assistance of his imaginative pattern makers, tailors, and seamstresses. These contributions resulted in striking, elegant, and poised fashions that accommodated all women for all times of day and night. This sophisticated and integrated vision continues to resonate and guide the creativity of the House of Dior.”
ROM visitors are invited to experience the exquisite craftsmanship, intricate detail, and inspired designs by Christian Dior. Drawn from the ROM’s renowned Christian Dior haute couture collection, the exhibition is supported by loans from Christian Dior Heritage, Paris and several other lenders. It explores how and why Dior’s iconic seasonal collections, his masterful cuts, and his use of luxury textiles and lavish embroideries laid the foundation for the fashion house’s global success so that, by 1953, it accounted for five percent of all French exports. Christian Dior offers a rare opportunity to examine firsthand the creative process of the Paris haute couture industry during the 1950s and see first-hand the influences that are still felt today.
“Holt Renfrew is very proud to be the presenting sponsor of Christian Dior at the ROM,” says Mario Grauso, President, Holt Renfrew. “We were the first store in Canada to bring Dior to our customers and we continue to enjoy a valued relationship with this iconic brand.” Grauso continues, “The ROM is an incredible museum and we are looking forward to supporting what will be a very exciting exhibition for Toronto.”
Christian Dior is on display from November 25, 2017 to Sunday March 18, 2018. The exhibition is separately ticketed. Pricing for Adults is $8 in addition to General Admission. ROM Members always enjoy free admission.
Exhibit Patron: Friends of Textiles and Costume & Burnham Brett Endowment Fund