by Rowena Howie December 24, 2017
The Christian Dior exhibition 'Couturier du Reve' at the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris has been much touted as the exhibition of 2017 and it didn't disappoint. Rowena visited over the Christmas holidays and here's what she found.
As I boarded the Eurostar I was filled with excitement and fear: I was thrilled to be able to go to Paris on a research and development trip that would also give me immense personal pleasure (love my job!) but having heard the stories I was scared I would queue all day and simply not be admitted to the exhibition that has been so popular and was now in it's final weeks.
It was a close call but at 4pm on a cold, wet, Friday before Christmas I made it through the front doors. I simply never imagined that an exhibition would bring me so much joy, inspiration and insight.
Running Revival Retro is both challenging and rewarding. I dream big, I work hard and I imagine perfection. To see the historical inner working of a key fashion house such as Dior is hugely revealing. Old photos, archive film and details about the designer himself all feed my appetite and ambition.
The exhibition is huge but I did love the multi media exhibits in the early rooms where a well known black and white photograph by the likes of Richard Avedon's Dovima with Elephants slowly fragments to reveal through glass the actual dress behind it. These layers revealing the different aspects of fashion amongst a room of behind the scenes insights into this couturiers work was fantastic to watch. There were so many interesting parts of the exhibit that had to be experienced in person to understand their impact, however, I took lots of photos so for those who never made it, I hope this gives you a little peak into the exhibition.
Le Théåtre Dior is an expansive collection of miniaturised Dior iconic gowns placed together with jewellery shoes, accessories and hats. It really gives a sense of how the House of Dior formulated whole collections, dressing patrons head to toe creating a meticulous elegance.
Beyond the miniatures though there were so many beautiful gowns to behold. Here are my favourite pieces!
A key part of the exhibition (throughout) is the 1947 New Look, or as we are in Paris Le Tailleur Bar. From early drawings to photography and stories it wasn't until i saw the actual garment that i realised how sculpted and moulded i realised the lower parts of this suit were! What i loved though was looking at the structure and construction, realising the narrowness of each piece at the waist compared to the width at the hip..
When I say the exhibition is huge it's not until you do do the figure of eight and loop back upon yourself that you enter the biggest grandest rooms. I made the mistake of dawdling earlier on thinking I'd reached the penultimate or ultimate stages which cost me dearly at closing time when security began ushering everybody out!
The final galleries of the exhibition are definiely meant to wow!
This was the best vintage fashion exhibit I have ever seen. It was an entire retrospective it's just my interest lies in the haute couture of the 1940s and 1950s so that's largely what I've shown you here. Here is a link to full details of this current exhibition on the museum website.
Before I go I would like to mention the other parts of my experience that made this Paris trip so enjoyable.
The hotel i stayed in was utterly delightful in every way. Fantastic art deco features. A top flight cocktail bar. AND the most amazing breakfast that was so good that in some ways it even resembled a still life painting!
Hotel Bachaumont Thank you for your hospitality! Readers, I thoroughly recommend upgrading your room to get a view of the street.
Now. you know that whenever in central London the MUST visit is Revival Retro Boutique. Well the shop that I have been avidly following on Instagram and didn't want to miss when visiting Paris was Marilyn Feltz.
Please go! Support this wonderful little shop and visit all the gorgeous little boutiques in Passage du Grand Cerf en route. My personal favourites were the jewellery at Eric et Lydie and Homewares at La petite Ourse.
I love interesting small independent shops so I had a fantastic day shopping in the 2nd arrondissement before making the short walk to Gare du Nord for the trip home.
Lover of beautiful things and amazing people. Explorer and Entrepreneur. This is my independent shop, whether you visit our London boutique or browse our online offering it is my vision that our wonderful team is working hard to bring to life.
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The Revival Retro Boutique
30 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JL (Goodge Street, Tube)