Uh uh uh uh ! You don’t need to be a fashionista to be in complete awe of this. This is about dreaming, being relentless in adversity, how to appeal to the soul’s needs when it didn’t know it needed it, building a brand and earning a living in something you’re good at, fantasy, and the detail of presentation — all of which we could all do with.
Christian Dior, a French designer, who’s lyricism:
There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.”
has meant an attempt at co-ownership of his talent, which is why if you’re visiting London you’ll find his most extraordinary exhibition at the V and A Museum. Demand for the show is so great, it’s sold out. I’m here with my dear friend, Oksana Silanteva, who’s flown in from Russia to the UK for a brief holiday. A plan is cooked up that gets her and I into the show.
And it was worth it.
From a wealthy background, Dior’s father’s business collapsed in the early 1920s, his mother and sibling died, and his own art gallery had to close. His break came in the shape of an established designer Robert Piguet from whom. he would learn his craft, and pop off for military service when war loomed.
His work spawned the adjective, “New look”, which was seized upon by the press and women framed by the power-dressing utilitarian look of the 40s. Dior, inspired by art, architecture, love of travel and cultures, brought shape, curves and seduction into his work to compliment women — an early recognition of design thinking.
His work drew on historical, theatrical antecedents, injecting sexuality in what would have been an extraordinary departure from the status quo, to create fantasy around his form. And thus grew his empire.
The show itself is ambitiously staged, an alice in wonderland experience, and it reinforced, as if it needed doing, my own introspection. Shows like this are where ideas are shaped. The later Steve Jobs ( Apple) in his downtime days in France visited one gallery after another for inspiration. Here it’s in spades and some impressions become evident to Dior’s legacy
Travel, take ideas from elsewhere, involve your public, depart from the norm if necessary, exercise your talent, work with a team and take care off your name. Is this not what storytelling is, oh and the production of the House of Dior. Here are some images