One last thing to do this year: visit the Dior exhibition in Paris

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If you are going to Paris before January 8th there is one thing you have to do: visit the Dior exhibition. (And if you don't have it planned, just be spontaneous and go anyway!) 'Chrisian Dior, Designer of Dreams' is a unique retrospective about seventy years of creation by the House of Dior. You can visit the exhibition till January 7th 2018 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the heart of Paris. Give yourself a fairytale exhibition as a new year's present - or ask for it. It's  never too late to add a trip to Paris to your wish list.

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on the left: Arlequin coat - Christian Dior by Gianfranco Ferré - AW 1995
painting: Harlequin with Guitar by André Derain


The designs at the exhibition aren't shown chronologically. Creations from all the designers of the House of Dior are shown next to each other. Thus showing that all designers respected Dior's DNA, all the while maintaining their own - very distinguishable - signature. But the creations are shown according to theme. One of the first themes is art. It is very inspiring to see how fashion can be influenced by art and how a painting is translated into a dress. I adored the dress by Raf Simons inspired by the artist Sterling Ruby but sadly I couldn't get a good picture (one more reason to visit the exhibition).

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I will say this now: prepare for an overload of pictures. But still they only show a tiny fraction of all the beautiful dresses on display. Other themes are travel, a room filled with original Dior creations, accessories and miniature versions of Dior's iconic designs, the Neo-Louis XVI style...

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on the left: Muguet dress, Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 1957
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And then...there is one of my favourite rooms of the exhibition. A paper fairytale forest filled with Dior dresses inspired by flowers. When you walk into that room, there is a chance your jaw will drop. You can also see the famous Muguet dress there (Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 1957).

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toiles from floor to ceiling (a version of a garment made to test a pattern)

But also afterwards the scenography keeps living up to your expectations - and exceeds them. A dark room filled with red and black creations, a room filled with toiles from floor to ceiling... You will keep falling in love with the exhibition.

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John Galliano
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Raf Simons
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Maria Grazia Chiuri
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Maria Grazia Chiuri

Then it is time to meet the different designers of the House of Dior, from the master Christian Dior himself, over John Galliano, the Belgian Raf Simons to the most recent - and first female- designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. And that's without mentioning Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferré.

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And then...le moment suprême, a grand ballroom filled with evening gowns. Stay there long enough - you will need your time anyway to marvel at all the dresses. But also stay long enough to enjoy the play of light in the ballroom. The room goes from a soft pink morning glow to a blue evening sky to erupt in a golden sparkling sky for the ball. When you leave the ball, you enter the 'library'. Don't take a book to buy with you - like I did :-) - there's a gift shop when you leave the museum. The books in the library are just for browsing (yeah, I was too enthusiastic).

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the original Dior Bar Suit from the New Look collection

Some practical tips
I was so in awe of the exhibition that I visited it twice. To end this post and go back to reality, some tips:
- Buy your ticket in advance. You may still have to wait in line, but not as long as the ticketless people. If you have to choose a time slot, take the earliest one available, preferably the first one of the day. The museum opens at 11 am.
- Be there half an hour before opening time (or before your time slot starts).
- Don't be overwhelmed if the first rooms are too busy. During my second visit (when I arrived after the museum opened) I skipped the first three rooms, I have to admit - but I only did that because I already saw them. Afterwards it gets less busy.
- Enjoy the wonderful exhibition.
- If you want to buy a book, but you don't want to take the beautiful but very heavy book about the exhibition with you, choose the special issue of Connaissance des arts. If you like graphic novels I also recommend Jeune fille en Dior by Annie Goetzinger. Both publications are available in English and French.
- If you really want the book about the exhibition too, you can order it online. But be sure to check if it isn't sold out online (again) on the spot. If it is, the only option is to carry the heavy book home with you. It is worth it as a lasting memory of this great exhibition.
- www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr

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