Moscow Fashion visionary
Until July 24 at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, 12, Ul. Volkhonka, Kropotkinskaya
Open Tue.-Sun. 10am-7pm, closed Mon.; ticket office closes at 6pm.
t was a day in February 1947 when a budding young designer presented his first collection on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris. The innovative collection titled “Corolle” (a circlet of flower petals) prompted Harper’s Bazaar’s editorin- chief Carmel Snow to exclaim, “It’s such a new look!” – and thereafter, Christian Dior became known as the creator of the New Look.
Post WWII, fashion took a turn to the feminine – practical outfits restricted by fabric rationing gave way to longer and fuller skirts which flared out from the waist, emphasizing a woman’s curves. Dior created ethereally elegant silhouettes, turning women into flowers. Since WWI, women were supposed to have flat boyish figures, but Dior promoted a fuller look with a large bust and small waist. In denial of fabric rationing, Dior unabashedly used yards and yards of expensive fabrics for one dress. The rich and famous instantly lined up to order dresses from him. Dior was made.
The exhibition at the Pushkin Museum looks back at the history of the House of Dior and the designer who influenced so many others, who helped reestablish Paris as a fashion centre and who dressed so many of the notables on the screen. Dior was not merely a man who made clothes; his designs took inspiration from painting, nature, history, sculpture, photography and reflected the works of his contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso.
Paintings from the Belle Époque also contributed to Dior’s evening dresses; crinolines, and corsets found their way into his designs, as did motifs from Gustav Klimt, Francisco Goya and Vincent van Gogh. Dior’s visions didn’t end with his death; the House of Dior found his successor in Yves Saint-Laurent, then Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and later John Galliano.
Although the latter was recently dismissed from Dior for a scandal involving racist remarks, the British designer’s talent and views closely resemble those of Christian Dior. As Dior’s CEO Bernard Arnault, remarked, “He has the same extraordinary mixture of romanticism, feminism and modernity that symbolised Monsieur Dior.”
The exhibition includes not only dresses (120 of them) but shoes as well; glittering in every colour of the rainbow. Paintings, photos and graphics are hung next to the dresses they inspired. Christian Dior’s early sketches are also on display, as are Dior’s perfume bottles.
Tickets cost 400 roubles, and there is also an audio guide available for a 1,000-rouble deposit.