Stars In Dior: From The Screen To The Streets - An exhibition on the cinema was inaugurated on May 12th, 2012 in Granville, Normandy, in the very house where Christian Dior spent his childhood. The show's main curator, Florence Müller, reveals the ties between Christian Dior the costume designer and the couturier.
How did the theme for this exhibition come to you?
"There’s a natural relationship between Christian Dior’s style and the cinema, something that seems obvious. It’s a style for making an entrance in a salon or a ballroom – it’s a woman’s personal spectacle. All of these special occasion dresses, especially their draping, are a way of spotlighting movement – as if the woman moved and then suddenly froze to be showcased in the most striking way. All eyes should be drawn to her, and in that sense we are very much in the realm of the cinema."
And more particularly Hollywood?
"Yes, the history of Hollywood cinema is where glamour was invented, in the Thirties, with Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo: these women were totally idealized by their clothes and accessories, makeup, lighting and…. their pose. That’s why their acting at the time was slightly stilted, particularly in the case of Dietrich: there was this notion that full expression might perturb the idealization of the face. One sees all of this at Dior. And when Dietrich needed to refresh her image, in the late Forties, she very naturally turned to Dior."
What can we learn from the costumes that Christian Dior created before 1947?
"Before creating his Haute Couture house, Christian Dior was a costumer for eight films. We know that he took his work very seriously, that he was very attentive to finishings and details, which is already more indicative of the couturier’s art than that of a costume designer. For period films, he dared to mix things up and create his own style; he looked to the past but without conforming to a specific time. Crinolines, bustles and silhouettes from 1900 and 1910 were already a first step toward the "New Look". His Haute Couture was in perfect continuity: it was a renewal of grand style à la française, true “court art”, a way of dressing to put oneself on show, in a sense. Like the Queen at Versailles, surrounded by the gilded glories of the castle."
From Marilyn Monroe to Charlize Theron, Olivia De Havilland to Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth to Sharon Stone, Ava Gardner to Marion Cotillard, the stars of the 7th art have often worn creations by the house of Dior, whether they were designed by its founder or his successors, on the set, at cinema-related events or simply in their everyday life. Some of them became intimate friends of the designers, as did Marlene Dietrich and Christian Dior, or Princess Grace of Monaco and Marc Bohan. Isabelle Adjani even took to the runway for the house. This exhibition retraces the ties, both friendly and professional, that linked the house of Dior and the stars of the silver screen. “In the play of mirrors where fashion and cinema reflect one another, in two visual worlds tied to emotion and beauty, the actress/client is transformed into a model or muse,” explains Florence Müller, the head curator of the exhibition.
The show includes approximately 50 dresses, 20 film excerpts (featuring actresses wearing house creations, plus a selection of advertisements for Dior perfumes directed by cinema greats), movie posters, drawings, sketches, photos and scripts that were culled from the house archives or have been loaned by the national film libraries of France and Germany (the Berlin Film Archive in particular loaned pieces related to Marlene Dietrich). Were he here today, Christian Dior, who often drew the comparison between fashion shows and the world of spectacle, haute couture and the cinema, would have discovered that even after his death, in 1957, his successors cultivated with a passion the ties that the master forged with stars of the 7th art. For every era, for every style, for every star there is a share of glamour.
Stars In Dior: From The Screen To The Streets
From May 12th through September 23rd, 2012.
Christian Dior Museum - Granville, France.
For more information: www.musee-dior-granville.com
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credits/Source: The House of Dior