CHRISTIAN DIOR: DESIGNER OF DREAMS

“There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.” Christian Dior

 

Christian Dior, Juno dress, haute couture fall-winter 1949, mid-century line – © MAD / Nicholas Alan Cope

In February 2019, the V&A will open the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior – the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. Spanning 1947 to the present day, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him, to explore the enduring influence of the fashion house.

Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition will be reimagined for the V&A. A brand-new section will, for the first time, explore the designer’s fascination with British culture. Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary. He also had a preference for Savile Row suits. In 1947, he hosted his first UK fashion show at London’s Savoy Hotel, and in 1952 established Christian Dior London.

A 21-year-old Princess Margaret in Dior, 1951, copyright Museum of London

This exhibition will investigate Dior’s creative collaborations with influential British
manufacturers, and his most notable British clients, from author Nancy Mitford to ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, generously on loan from the Museum of London. It will also bring to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954.

Princess Margaret (left), with the Duchess of Marlborough behind, presents Christian Dior with a scroll entitling him to Honorary Life Membership of the British Red Cross after the presentation of his Winter Collection at Blenheim Palace on 3rd November 1954. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition will also showcase highlights from the V&A’s world-class Couture collections, including the iconic Bar Suit, gifted to the museum by the House of Dior in 1960. The exhibition will present over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

Miss Dior Perfume, 1947 © Philippe Schlienger

The exhibition will highlight Dior’s vision of femininity, encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture House and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show. From horticulture to global travel and 18th century decorative arts, the show will reveal the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic. From the daring designs of
Yves Saint Laurent to the rational style of Marc Bohan, the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of fashion, the exhibition will show how each successive artistic director has stayed true to Dior’s vision of Haute Couture, while bringing their own creative sensibilities to the House.

Dior Couture, “The Ingenue” collection by John Galliano, 2009.

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and COO of the V&A, said: “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams celebrates one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history. Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris – as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain. The V&A holds one of the largest and most important fashion collections in the world, and we are delighted to be able to reveal highlights from our outstanding collection alongside those from the remarkable archive of the House of Dior, for this spectacular exhibition.”

Christian Dior with model Sylvie, circa 1948, Courtesy of Christian Dior

Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A, said: “In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look’, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-War Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950’s onwards. The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today. More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition will celebrate the enduring
influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.”

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
The Sainsbury Gallery
2 February – 14 July 2019

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND: MORE GATES AND DOORS

The Roman Baths, Bath
Bath, England
Townhouse,, Bath
Bath, England
Royal Oak, Corsley Heath
Naval and Military Club,, St. James’s Square
Castle Hotel, Ryde, Isle of Wight
Appuldurcombe House, Godshill, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Albert Cottage, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Oxfordshire
Caversham
Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
Dorchester
The George Inn, Dorchester
Beaulieu
Beaulieu
Beaulieu
Salisbury Close
Salisbury Close
Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

BOXING DAY — WHAT IN THE WORLD?

In Britain, the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day.  Every December 26 I wonder what in the world that means — and I never find out for sure.  Maybe someone can tell me, Victoria, what it is. Definitively!

This Cartoon has the right spirit IMHO

Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The exact etymology of the term “boxing day” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.”  This comes after they have already defined Boxing Day as a time when servants get their gifts.

So I turned to Snopes — which says the claim that Boxing Day means it is time to get rid of Christmas boxes is false… so where besides Nordstrom’s do stores have boxes any more?

Snopes goes on: “The holiday’s roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after. And that’s about as much as anyone can definitively say about its origin because once you step beyond that point, it’s straight into the quagmire of debated claims and dueling folklorists.”

I was amazed to find how many images Google has for Boxing Day, though they hardly solve the mystery.
As far as I can tell around here (midwest US), it’s the day to run around and buy next year’s decorations and wrappings at half price. Perhaps the cats should have the last word on the subject!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

One of our favourite Christmas movies of all time at Number One London is Bridget Jones’s Diary. Taking our inspiration from the film, here are our Christmas wishes to you . . . . .

 

May you always be surrounded by good friends

 

May you always find the perfect thing to wear

 

May you always find joy in singing out loud

 

May you never run out of a supply of emergency ice cream

 

May you use your gift cards wisely

 

May you never run out of good books to read

 

May you always be up for new challenges

 

 

May you experience good will towards men

 

 

May all your recipes turn out perfectly

 

May you always have good hair days

 

May you never be forced to wear an ugly Christmas sweater

and . . . . .

may you always realize your heart’s desire

  Merry Christmas!

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

December 25th

My Own Heart – The London coach arrived today, bringing with it your gift of a partridge and a pear tree. You are too clever by half!
Yours For Eternity

December 26th

My Love – Two turtle doves! How simply smashing. I cannot wait to see you again that I might thank you personally. You are too droll.
For Ever and Ever

December 27th

Darling – There we were, my footman and I, dispensing bird seed when what should arrive at Blicking Hall but three French hens. You cannot imagine the look they brought to the footman’s face. Truly, you shouldn’t have.
Always

December 28th

Sweetheart – Four calling birds. How quaint. You should know that my lady’s maid is making noises about leaving the Hall. The footman is none too happy, either, although the local carpenter is quite over the moon to have been hired to construct the aviary. Typically, work is scarce for him at this time of year.
Love

December 29th

Dearest – How could you do this to me? I do not mean to be short with you, but none of us here has gotten much sleep of late, what with all the billing, cooing, chirping and calling the birds are wont to do.
Yours
P.S. Thank you for the five golden rings.

December 30th

Dear – Now you’ve done it. Cook is quite put out by the six geese laying in her kitchen, and no wonder. You must end this. Accomplished cooks are difficult to come by in the country.
As Ever

December 31st

Dear Sir – I am most heartily sick of the sight of feathers. Your seven swans arrived today and are swimming in the ornamental fountain in the conservatory. Oldham has been snorting at me disdainfully all morning. Have you ever been snorted at by your butler? It’s off putting, to say the least.
Happy New Year

January 1st

Sir – Is there a market for spare goose eggs? The eight maids you sent today are a welcome sight, what with all the seeds and feathers we have to sweep up hourly here. Once they have finished with that, the maids intend to walk to the village, where they are determined to help with the milking. Wherever shall they all sleep?
Please Cease and Desist

January 2nd

To Whom It May Concern – This daily gift giving business is no longer amusing. The entire village have followed the nine drummers drumming to our door. The staff are up in arms, save for the footman, who has not been seen since shortly after the eight maids arrived.
Stop it!

January 3rd

You black hearted scoundrel – the magistrate appeared at Blicking Hall today. It transpires that the villagers are being driven to distraction by the ten pipers and their constant piping. Perhaps you should have sent mimes.

January 4th

Could you not have sent the eleven ladies dancing to Almack’s instead of to me? Do these outrageous gifts have anything to do with the betting book at White’s? Is that idiot Brummell somehow involved? Have you a good receipt for fowl fricassee?

January 5th

My entire staff have deserted me, taking with them the maids, pipers, dancing ladies and, blessedly, the drummers. There is the tiniest bit of good news – I have been given to understand that some of them have made successful matches and are currently bound for Gretna Green. I was headed to my rooms with a bottle of port when who should arrive but twelve lords a leaping. And what lords they are – so handsome, so gallant, so utterly divine! How could I have doubted your intentions? Please give my regards to all in London, as I fear I shall be much too occupied here at Blicking Hall to partake of the Season.
Your Most Grateful Friend