Dior ball gowns that made headlines star in London exhibition
CGTN
02:43

From Princess Margaret's 21st birthday gown to Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence's red carpet dress, Christian Dior outfits that have made headlines, a collection of gowns dedicated to the French fashion house are on show in a London exhibition.

It's being billed as the largest and most comprehensive museum display ever staged in Britain on the revered fashion house. The exhibit, which opens Saturday, traces the influence of Dior over seven decades and showcases dozens of spectacular couture gowns.

With a supporting cast of accessories, sketches and perfume bottles, “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” takes a close look at the history of the luxury brand he founded in 1946 and which remains the epitome of haute couture.

Creations on display during a photocall for the "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in London, Britain, January 30, 2019. /VCG Photo

Creations on display during a photocall for the "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in London, Britain, January 30, 2019. /VCG Photo

In all more than 500 items, the legacy of the late couturier and his six successors are on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum from February 2.

One of the earliest outfits on show is Dior's signature Bar suit: a sculpted off-white jacket cinched at the waist and black pleated skirt. The 1947 design revolutionized womenswear and was dubbed Dior's “New Look.”

"He really changed the face of fashion in the post-war period, introducing his New Look, which sort of swept away the boxy silhouettes of the wartime," said Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Texitles curator at the V&A.

Eventail de vos Hazards dresses by Maria Grazia Chiuri are on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo 

Eventail de vos Hazards dresses by Maria Grazia Chiuri are on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo 

In particular, the finale, "The Ballroom," celebrates Dior's love for extravagant evening wear with aplomb.

It features dozens of handmade gowns in sumptuous silks, feathers and crystals dazzle amid sparkling constellations and showers of gold dust.

The exhibit is based on a 2017 Dior show in Paris, but it's expanded with a new section devoted to Dior's fascination with British royalty and aristocracy.

Shoes are on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo

Shoes are on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo

Another highlight is the gold straw embroidered silk bodice and full-skirted gown Dior designed for Britain's Princess Margaret's in 1951. She wore the gown for her official 21st birthday portrait.

The stylish royal remained a Dior client for many years.

Dior died in 1957, aged 52. A young Yves Saint Laurent took over and was followed by successive creative directors Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri, at the helm since 2016.

Their designs, worn by royals and celebrities, are mixed alongside the founder's, each loyal to his legacy and fascinations. Dior was superstitious – his lucky star is on display – and Chiuri has paid homage to that in her creations.

A gallery assistant poses by costumes on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo

A gallery assistant poses by costumes on show at "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" exhibition at the V&A Museum. /VCG Photo

“Around the world, Dior is Dior. Many people don't know that there were many designers at Dior,” Chiuri told Reuters.

“I think we have to respect this heritage but at the same time we have to move this heritage in the future. I look around, I take a lot of inspiration but at the same time my idea is to make this element contemporary for modern women.”

(With inputs from Reuters. )