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Mar 8, 2022
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Dior opens La Galerie, a living museum of the brand

Mar 8, 2022

This Wednesday, the legendary Paris fashion house will open La Galerie Dior, a living museum of the brand, spread over 2,000 square-meters and 13 concept spaces, a unique display of the history, heritage and DNA of the storied luxury marque. Fashion Network was given a pre-opening tour.

Inside the Galerie Dior - Photo by Kristen Pelou, courtesy of Dior - DR

One enters through 11bis rue Francois 1er, to discover a giant twisting white marble stairway, at the center of an atrium featuring a Diorama of 1,874 Dior objects. Amid them, 452 robe miniatures – or mini dresses – from the house’s seven official couturiers: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan; Gianfranco Ferré; John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. All told, 70 different mini dresses spread over seven decades, dating from the New Look show of February 12, 1947 up to today. While the objects – whether Lady Di or Saddle bags; J’Adore scent bottles; bijoux or Steven Jones’ multiple berets – are all made in 3D printing, necessitating over 100,000 hours of work.
La Galerie Dior is also a tribute to Christian Dior’s first vocation as a gallery owner. Old black and white photos show him with pals Salvador Dali, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau. Designed as a narrative scenography by Nathalie Crinière, the star curator of Dior retrospectives, La Galerie subtly unveils the House’s precious archives, from couture to fragrances. There are a myriad of marvelous dresses from all Dior’s talented successors – with Galliano and Chiuri having the most spectacular creations.  And great videos of all the house’s couturiers at work in the atelier, which still today occupy the fourth and fifth floors above La Galerie.

The Christian Dior 1905-1957 exhibit - Photo by Kristen Pelou, courtesy of Dior - DR

Movie reels display the scores of stars dressed in Dior in classic movies, sometimes beside the actual dress. From hundreds of magazine covers to displays of a myriad perfume flacons, it’s a mecca to la mode.
Galerie 1 is particularly inspiring – an elegantly displayed history of Monsieur Dior- with photos and documents - and his not so simple history. These include the card announcing his birth in 1905; images of his charmed childhood in a seaside villa; and the official 1935 announcement of the sale of the content of that beloved family home on the coastline of Normandy, Les Rumbs, when the Great Depression bankrupted the family.
One year later, as he searched for a métier one discovers Dior’s illustrations that appeared in Le Figaro in 1936, after he had taught himself to draw. Not far away, there is even Dior looking rather incongruous in military uniform with a group of muddy soldiers, as he fulfilled his national service.

Dior's Enchanted Gardens - Photo by Kristen Pelou, courtesy of Dior - DR

Next comes Christian’s first steps as a couturier. There is even a silk faille evening dress he designed for the house of Robert Piguet, back in 1939, nearly a decade before he launched his own house.  
And, of course, a bar jacket, albeit a copy, from the New Look collection of February 12, 1947, which would change fashion forever. Multiple photos of that packed show, with scores of people sat on the stairs of 30 Avenue Montaigne, capture the sheer excitement. A show that launched Dior into superstardom and reestablished Paris as the center of the fashion universe.

All the way to the newsreel announcing his sudden death in October 1957, with all his models dressed in black, and a field of flowers laid out in his memory under the Arc de Triomphe.
Dior CEO Pietro Beccari actually began discussing the idea of a Dior museum back in May 2018, choosing Crinière, a Dior expert.

The Dior Ball - Photo by Kristen Pelou, courtesy of Dior - DR

“Nathalie accompanies us in all our exhibitions and she has done a remarkable job with La Galerie. She was the right choice, since she knows the archives by heart,” said Beccari.
At one stage, after passing Monsieur’s own desk, visitors discover a glass floor allowing them to view the original cabine where models were made up inside 30 Avenue Montaigne. Hats and hat boxes; toiles and gloves; beading, pearls and needle and thread, for last-minute alterations.
“La Galerie is a place where people can fully appreciate our archive and our heritage. It’s about blending tradition, adaption and modernity – so we know where we come from. Dior is now the only brand in our world which has this sort of space,” said CEO Pietro Beccari.
La Galerie Dior will be open six days a week, except Tuesday. In order not to overload the experience, daily capacity will be limited to around 1,000.

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