Immersing into the intersection of diverse unique fashion minds of women at the new Dior exhibition

Immersing into the intersection of diverse unique fashion minds of women at the new Dior exhibition

At the flagship store at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris, inside La Galerie exhibition room, Dior has unveiled a new story about the golden milestones in the history of the fashion house, about the collaborations that have made history with talented female artists.

Immersing into the intersection of diverse unique fashion minds of women at the new Dior exhibition
Immersing into the intersection of diverse unique fashion minds of women at the new Dior exhibition

Women have always played a significant role in the creative dynasty of Dior. Since its early days, the initial design characters of the founder, Christian Dior, were strongly influenced by his mother, beloved sisters, especially Catherine Dior – a French resistance fighter and the name behind the brand’s first perfume, Miss Dior. From the first “unleashed” collection to the present day, undergoing numerous reigns of new leaders, Dior has always created timeless fashion masterpieces for women. Women have always been the ultimate destination of the French fashion house. They are not just inspirations, core creative values, or customers of Dior but also deeply embedded in the brand’s creative DNA. A new exhibition by Dior at La Galerie, running from late November to May 2024, is organized to honor all the female artists who have collaborated with the fashion house in various art and fashion projects.

Since its opening in March 2022, La Galerie Dior at the historical flagship store in Paris has attracted 650,000 visitors, participating in numerous exhibitions exploring the fashion archive from the early days of establishment to the latest collections. Hélène Starkman, the cultural project manager of Christian Dior Couture, said: “We have the task of changing the display products every six months, and this has helped us create a new perspective on the history of Dior.” Now, those 13 rooms have been themed to create a perfect space to honor Dior’s collaboration with female artists throughout the brand’s development journey.

The “new story” told at La Galerie Dior will be a moment for talented female artists (alive or not) – those who exist in the broad vision, in the diverse universe of Dior’s femininity, to step into the light and let everyone know who they are. And it will be a place for many to discover the beauty of many artworks, such as Leonor Fini’s painting from the 1930s displayed for the first time by founder Christian Dior during his early days as the head of the exhibition room, to Niki de Saint Phalle’s 1967 sculpture “Nana” illustrating her long-lasting friendship with Marc Bohan during his time as Dior’s creative director. These historically significant works are placed alongside contemporary works and specially commissioned pieces by contemporary artists such as Judy Chicago, Eva Jospin, Brigitte Niedermair, Katerina Jebb, and Elina Chauvet, among others.

According to Olivier Flaviano, director of La Galerie Dior, this is the first exhibition to follow a specific seamless chronological sequence, as if every room, every theme is guided and developed as an invisible “thread” from start to finish. “This new exhibition aims to demonstrate that fashion is not just mere objects, but can also become a theme with meaningful messages it carries. Dior’s diverse visions through the eyes of female artists have created special messages,” shared Olivier. Furthermore, “this exhibition is also seen as a laboratory for what we can display and how it can provide viewers with a new perspective on the brand’s history,” he added.

Dior has always placed strong trust in the relationships around him, from collaborations with influential musicians, writers, and artists. Similarly, Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director for the fashion house’s menswear line since 2017, has invited many artists to participate in spreading messages and embellishing her portrait of women’s rights even clearer.

Right outside the entrance, where visitors step into La Galerie Dior, there is a photo of a T-shirt with the slogan “We Should All Be Feminists” that Maria Grazia Chiuri debuted in her debut collection, photographed by Brigitte Niedermair. This is an appropriate and ideal introduction for an exhibition where Dior’s vibrant heritage appears alongside unique works of collaborating female artists – those who embody this particular fashion standard with their own visions, thoughts, and experiences.

An entire room is dedicated to Chauvet, the Mexican artist, who collaborated with the designer to create a series of costumes for Maria’s cruise collection finale showcased in Mexico City in May. In the pristine white room, the exhibition showcases designs made of pure white muslin cotton, specially embellished with vivid red embroidery, as vibrant as blood, along with messages embroidered in red threads, aiming to raise awareness about violence against women. Chauvet explained in an interview: “My whole work is to support women’s rights.” Among them, the famous visual artist’s “Red Shoes” – a masterpiece consisting of dozens of red shoes placed in public squares around the world to commemorate missing or murdered women, is also reproduced in meticulous embroidery on a dress.

Working with a group of female embroiderers in Mexico, Chauvet created a new set of products for the exhibition, including the most intricate and exquisite versions on classic Dior coat designs with messages like “Mi derecho es decidir” (“It’s my right to decide”) or “Ni soy de tu propiedad” (“I’m not your property.”) They are arranged along with portraits by Mexican photographer Maya Goded. Also, there are a series of embroideries of a heart or a newborn baby, idyllic natural scenes and intimate domestic settings, innocent patterns found on delicate folds and large bows. Chauvet explains the struggles of women, though challenging and harsh, yet still full of hope, which is the reason for the appearance of dreamy details alongside strong struggle marks. “It’s important to accurately represent the pain, but Maria and Dior’s worldview about femininity is always characterized by a unique poetic essence, so I tried to capture their spirit,” Chauvet shared. When invited to collaborate with Maria, Chauvet was very worried about what she would do with these things? But Maria Grazia and Dior gave the artist complete freedom, which truly provided a great motivation for her. “The exhibition room is magnificent. It’s wonderful. I’m deeply moved by how they chose to showcase my work,” Chauvet shared her emotions.

Artist Katerina Jebb began her collaboration with Dior in 2018 on various projects, but the artist herself does not see herself as a feminist supporter. She explained: “Actually, I don’t believe in gender art so I’m not a good supporter of this movement. Instead, I think it’s just emotions.” The British artist’s digital art pieces, created by compiling dozens of scanned images, are displayed in various rooms throughout the exhibition. Among them, Jebb’s “scanography portrait” works – including hundreds of scans created into spectral images, both haunting and futuristic appearing in four separate contexts. Referring to fashion, she said: “I don’t want the theme to be an empty vessel. The theme must be respected and valuable. It will become empty and silent if there is no embodiment of women.” Among Jebb’s most prominent contributions is Dior’s chair image, hung on the historic staircase leading to the room that was once the founder’s office from 1946 to around 1952.

Perhaps the only exception is a display room for ready-to-wear clothes Miss Dior introduced in 1967

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