I was recently in Paris and visited La Galerie Dior - a museum that opened in the Spring of 2022. It presents the history of the storied house of Dior and is adjacent to the Dior flagship store located at 30 rue de la Montaigne. The museum was designed by the American architect Peter Marino - fashion’s go-to architect.
Stairs at La Galerie Dior lined with a colorful diorama
Display of Dior gowns from different eras. The dress in the center is called the Junon gown and was designed in 1949
The exhibit begins and ends at the grand staircase that runs down the center of the space and links all of the floors together. The walls of the staircase are lined with a diorama of 1,874 iconic Dior creations all recreated in 3D-printed miniatures and organized by color.
1968 poured glass brooch made for Dior by Gripoix
1950s sketch and swatch for a Dior swing coat
Visitors are lead through the history of Dior by a scenographic narrative that includes displays, looks, sources of inspiration, original sketches, accessories and archival documents. The tour begins with the story of the founding of Dior in 1946 by its namesake, Christian Dior and continues through to the present day.
Autumn/Winter 1956 haute couture dress
Pink rhinestone and faux pearl necklace designed by Roger Jean-Pierre for Dior in 1960
More than 1,000 creations are on display - many of which have never been seen before by the public. The exhibit identifies what have become symbols or codes of the house of Dior (the “new look” silhouette, the Lady Dior bag, the caning pattern, stars, lily of the valleys and bees amongst others) and shows how various Dior designers throughout the years have reworked and interpreted these codes.
Spring/Summer1957 haute couture dress embroidered with Dior's favorite flower and good luck symbol, the lily of the valley. Christian Dior made the lily of the valley a house symbol.
Navy slip dress and handbag designed by John Galliano for Princess Diana to wear to the 1996 Met Gala Ball
I was surprised to learn that Christian Dior was the designer at Dior for less than 10 years. He died suddenly in 1957 at the age of 52 from a heart attack. Since his death there have been six other head designers. Each designer has added new twists to Dior’s visual history while staying true to Dior’s past. The designers include, Yves Saint Laurent (1957 - 1960), Marc Bohan (1960 - 1989), Gianfranco Ferre (1989 - 1996), John Galliano (1996 - 2011), Raf Simons (2012 - 2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016 - to the present day).
Haute couture bridal gown designed in 1961 by Mark Bohan for the Slim Look collection
Haute Couture dress with giant scarab piece designed in 2004 by John Galliano
The designer of La Galerie Dior’s scenographic displays, Nathalie Criniere has said, “This is a fashion house with a past, present, and future. The beautiful thing about writing a story is seeing it evolve, just like life.” If you are in Paris, the Galerie Dior exhibit and its visual story of the evolution of the House of Dior are not to be missed.