‘Dior: From Paris to the World’ Opens in Dallas

The exhibit is the latest in a slew of retrospectives on the designer, both abroad and stateside.

Perhaps in an unanticipated foreshadowing of things to come, Dior’s saddle bag from autumn/winter 2018—Maria Grazia Chiuri’s reinvention of Galliano’s introduction of the bag in the 90s—was riddled with American western culture. And nowhere is this culture more apparent than its arguable epicenter, Dallas, Texas. Combining the trends of a throwback to the 90s as well as the Wild West, Dior represents the preeminence of fashion and has embarked on this responsibility with a series of back-to-back museum exhibitions abroad. But unlike the rest of the fashion world, Dior continues to dictate its own path, the unlikely historical capital of fashion in the United States, according to Florence Müller, the curator of textile art and fashion at the Denver Art Museum. “Dior: From Paris to the World,”opens its doors today.
The specific architecture of the Dallas Museum is capitalized on in the presenting of the artifacts – all 187 of them. Two are not couture while the rest are, including many remakes of rare pieces that are so delicate and therefore rare, that they warrant nary exposure to humidity, temperature, or even human touch. Recreation aside, there are 32 exclusive new additions unseen elsewhere in this traveling exhibit that had made its appearance elsewhere. One enters the museum through a narrow hallway before opening up into a wide spread space with ensembles aligned from floor to ceiling, and the exhibit is an artful rendition of the discerning design eye of Shohei Shigematsu.
The barrel-vaulted museum is so large that it was divided into a narrow entryway before opening into a widely spacious room for a purposeful punch of panache. The cross-section between traditional artwork, the geographical significance, couture and fashion is fostered versus stand-alone fashion history. Flirt artworks are filed side-by-side with designs that embody their spirit, two of which were created by local artists and two were part of the museum’s permanent collection. The historical backdrop of America’s wild western progressive nature, in line with the latest headlines regarding women’s rights—or the lack thereof—in Alabama was inherent in one particular Dior outfit pairing: a maxi-length pleated wool skirt in black and an equally sculpted silk cream top.
The 33-yard skirt and dainty blouse in shades of the quintessential color pairing, black and white, is from Dior’s very first collection. The bougie skirt set provoked an outcry from women for being outlandishly out of reach for the proletariat that women began protesting, the period photo of which is on display. This premodern Women’s March is partially what influenced Dior to make his initial trip to Dallas. According to Museum archivists, Dior reportedly said, “The rich live about the same all over the world; I want to see how your poor people live.” 
The museum is hosting an impressive series of events such as discussions, skill sessions, open studios, wine and cheese talks, a viewing of Fédéric Tcheng’s 2015 documentary Dior and I, and even a challenge à la Project Runway’s Unconventional Challenge where wearable garments are created from – in this case – traditional art supplies.
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