Following its success at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams has landed in Brooklyn. Designer of Dreams, curated by Florence Müller in collaboration with Matthew Yokobosky, and excitingly designed by Nathalie Crinière, brings eight decades of high style to the storied establishment.
The exhibition includes some of the impressively theatrical devices that Müller first explored in the 2017 blockbuster iteration of this show at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and subsequently in America at the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Denver Art Museum.. For instance, there’s a wall of ghostly white toiles, reinforcing the power of craft and the hand in the house’s haute couture, and a curving wall containing accessories, clothes and enchanting doll-sized reproductions of some iconic Dior garments brilliantly arranged in a dazzling shaded rainbow of color.
The Brooklyn exhibition, however, opens with a fascinating look at Christian Dior’s relationship with America, and the installation incorporates pictures and objects from the museum’s own collection. After Dior’s untimely death, his brilliant dauphin, the 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent, was appointed to helm the house, which he did for two years before being drafted into the army for compulsory military service, shortly after which he was hospitalized.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition opens with some examples from Christian Dior’s New York collections, shown alongside some of the designer’s Paris originals, designed for brisk American lifestyles and glamorous evenings in the town that reflect, as Müller notes, “a Hollywood sense of drama.” “When I am in New York,” Dior noted at the time, “I wish to work in the American way… I feel that I am a genuine American couturier in New York, just as I feel I am a French couturier in Paris.” The New York sensibility is cleverly evoked in a grouping of little black dresses that are shown with contemporary black artworks, including a striking Ad Reinhardt painting, Untitled (Composition #104), 1954-1960; Louise Nevelson’s dramatic early sculpture First Personage, 1956; and a gleaming screen by Charles and Ray Eames with volutes that, as Yokobosky posits, suggest the pleats in a Dior skirt.
Guests are immediately greeted with Dior's classic bar suit also known as the "new look" which revolutionized women's dress providing the perfect starting point to dive into the show's rooms. The exhibit dedicates a full room to American visionary photographers who captured Dior garments in breathtaking images.