Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dior at the ROM

Last year the house of Christian Dior celebrated their 70th year. To celebrate this occasion, the Musée des Art Décoratifs in Paris had a special exhibition. I obviously couldn't go all the way to Paris to attend, so I was very happy when the Royal Ontario Museum announced their own Dior exhibit in partnership with Holt Renfrew. We managed to make it for the last weekend it was opened for.

The exhibit didn't only have clothes but accessories as well as perfumes that were sold at Holt Renfrew. The shoes were borrowed from the BATA Shoe museum in Toronto (must visit this museum one day). These two were my favorite. Apparently, the black ones could be bought lined with fur specially made for Canadian winters.

Sample book of swatches.

Holt Renfrew had special labels made that they used to identify Dior products bought from them.

Pearl necklace with fantastical beast motif. I especially loved the earrings.

More pearl necklaces. The necklace on the right showcases Dior's favorite flower, the lily of the valley, a bouquet of which was always worn by at least one model in every couture show.

There was this very extravagant perfume bottle with a bouquet of flowers at the top. I loved the display they had for one of the perfume bottles.

Before a dress is made, samples are gathered. This also includes embroidery. They had many pieces of embroidered fabric, some of which were later used in the making of a dress. The one below was stitched with boucle gilt lame thread, sequins and gold rocaille beads with with a luneville hook.

This one was my favorite. I loved the dark blue with the ivory and pearl. It was embroidered with both a needle and lunville hook. In some places, sequins (see the blue square sequins below) were stacked on top of each other to add relief.

This embroidery was used for a strapless dress called Palmyre. All of Dior's dresses had a name.

The next sample was a piece of layered lace embroidered by Maison Hurel for an evening dress. Not sure if it was ever made into one, but I loved the peonies that were created using fancy pearlized beads.

This next one is another sample done with a luneville hook. The motifs were eventually used with a different color way on a coat (see the next image).

Embroidered coat
The embroidery was done with a lunville hook using a metal thread. Some areas were padded, you can see some of it peeking out, which was not part of the original sample.

It's not just the outside that was heavily decorated. This lace with a lily of the valley motif was used to line the inside of a coat.

Here is a dress that was also bought by Sophia Loren but in a darker fabric. Back then, dresses were not only tailored to your size but also to your preference of colors and fabrics.

I really liked the beading on this dress but not so much the top of it, too loose. The silhouette was made for a much older woman. The beading on it was gorgeous and shined brightly. I couldn't get a good look at it but I suspect cut beads were used.

Not super crazy about this one but the beading at the collar looks amazing.

Another lace dress. This one was worn by a socialite for her daughter's wedding. I thought only the bride wore white?

More beading with paillettes, both colored and clear, pearls and chaton crystals.

I really enjoyed the exhibit but was surprised by how small it was. It felt like it was hastily put together to coincide with the Paris exhibition as there weren't a lot of pieces. There were some that were on loan from Paris but the bulk of them were donated by Canadian women who had purchased and worn the dresses in the 1950s. Really wish I could have gone to the one in Paris. Just to give you an idea of how large it was, I found this video on Youtube (it's very loud from crowds!).


  1. My goodness, isn't all that embellishment glorious!

  2. What beautiful dresses! Imagine the hours going into the embroidery and beadwork on a single dress.

  3. What a gorgeous exhibit! Thank you for binging it to me!

  4. Great pictures! We were in Paris last year and were lucky to see the exhibit. It was overwhelming but I particularly loved the petit Dior dresses shown next to the original!

  5. Love, love, love Sophia Loren's dress and the embroidered material samples. Lots of inspiration here! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Wow, that embroidery is gorgeous! I bet they were even more stunning in person.