Step inside The House of Dior, one of the world’s biggest names in haute couture, as Proud Central flings open the door to its latest exhibition, The Dior Collection
Lead image: ‘Looking Over Shoulder’, Marilyn Monroe, Los Angeles, 1962, Bert Stern (© The Bert Stern Trust)
Running from 7 February until 7 April 2019, the exhibition of fashion photography showcases the legendary designs of Christian Dior and its enduring impact on the fashion world. Not only is The House of Dior renowned for revitalising both haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion, it also reinvented the female silhouette and its legacy continues to inspire modern style.
Documenting the brand throughout its first two decades, Proud Galleries’ The Dior Collection showcases the iconic works of Mark Shaw, Norman Parkinson, Jerry Schatzberg, Bert Stern and Horst P Horst, from the polished editorial shots capturing well-known figures for Life magazine, to behind-the-scenes studio snapshots.
Since creating his namesake fashion company in 1946, Christian Dior has become recognised as one of the founding figures of haute couture. After a meeting with entrepreneur Marcel Boussac, Dior was invited to design for Paris fashion house Philippe et Gaston. Instead, he launched a new label under his own name, and with Boussac’s approval and sponsorship, the House of Dior was born.
In 1947, Christian Dior presented his first show, Corolle. Fabric rationing from the Second World War had ended and he relished the opportunity to step away from what he called the ‘hideous and repellent’ wartime styles, and his fresh new designs became synonymous with the feminine and voluptuous. The show made the cover of Life magazine and was dubbed ‘The New Look’ by Harper’s Bazaar.
Following Christian Dior’s death in 1957, his protégé, Yves Saint Laurent, took full creative control of the brand. YSL was nicknamed ‘The Little Prince of Fashion’ by the press and his first show was given a standing ovation. In 1960, Marc Bohan’s takeover ‘refined the lines, lengthened the silhouette and defined a look of dynamic femininity’ (House of Dior).
Presented in the exhibition are many notable figures, from Mark Shaw’s works featuring Elizabeth Taylor, to Bert Stern’s iconic snaps of Marilyn Monroe, including a capture of her final sitting before her death
Through the lens of five photographers, The Dior Collection explores the rich heritage and metamorphosis of Christian Dior throughout its early years, as well as its legacy and impact on the fashion industry.
The playful shots by Jerry Schatzberg feature an insider’s perspective into the world of models and designers, capturing a glimpse of 60s studio fashion photography.
Also presented in the exhibition are many notable figures gracing editorial pages in the most coveted Dior designs, from Mark Shaw’s works for Life magazine featuring Elizabeth Taylor, to Bert Stern’s iconic snaps of Marilyn Monroe, including a capture of her final sitting before her death of barbiturate overdose.
The Dior Collection brings together a remarkable selection of photography, highlighting the brand’s unique formative years through the works of leading 20th Century fashion photographers, collating images of classic early designs and exploring them through a contemporary lens.
Entrance to the exhibition is free.
Proud Central, 32 John Adam Street WC2N 6BP; proud.co.uk