Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams has smashed visitor records at the Victoria and Albert Museum after a blockbuster first run in Paris. The cultural attraction confirmed 594,994 had come through its doors surpassing the previous attendance figures recorded for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015 by over 100,000 visitors. The blockbuster show was still drawing the crowds 48 hours before the retrospective came to an end on 1 September.
The most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams traced the history and impact of the brand from 1947 to the present day examining one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him. Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives and the V&A’s extensive Couture collections, the exhibition presented over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, vintage perfume, original make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.
Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the show was reimagined for the V&A, with over 60 percent of the objects solely for this exhibition, and a brand-new section exploring the designer’s affection for British culture. The exhibition also highlighted the key creative brains behind the House from the past 70 years, including Roger Vivier, Stephen Jones, René Gruau, Serge Lutens and Swarovski, Christian Dior’s first choice for crystals to embellish his creations.
The exhibition was extended by seven weeks due to unprecedented demand after tickets for the entire run sold out in just three weeks after opening on 2 February 2019. The critically acclaimed showcase also formed a vital inspiration for Dior’s first female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri when designing the autumn/winter 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection.
Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said: “In 1947 Christian Dior changed the face of fashion, creating a lasting legacy that continues to inspire today. The V&A has a history of staging revelatory fashion exhibitions, so we knew that Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams would be popular, but we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response since it opened in February. I would like to thank all our visitors who have gone to such great lengths to experience this extraordinary show.”