The first clue that you’re entering something special is the Parisian storefront. Walk through its doors and you may not be in Maison Dior on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, but you’re in the next best thing: “Dior: From Paris to the World.”
The Denver Art Museum exhibit is stark, stylish and modern, focusing not so much on its history as on telling the story of the House of Dior and its head designers through its output. Interspersed are pieces of art from DAM’s collection that depict the type of imagery that inspired the House of Dior. So, for example, hung near a dress with a floral print is a 19th-century impressionist painting.
This type of detail, along with the thoughtful design by curator Florence Müller and architect Shohei Shigematsu, places Dior — and haute couture generally — firmly within the world of art. I didn’t require convincing, but for those who question whether fashion is art, “Dior” answers with an unequivocal “yes.”
Two exhibits that stood out for me were in stark contrast — one was white, a wall lined with “toiles,” the muslin cuts used in the initial stage of each design. The other was black — a silvery hall lined with all-black versions of Dior’s designs over the years.
In between, color permeates, particularly via a color block exhibit depicting Dior’s “Total Look.”
While the exhibit attempts to tell a larger story about Dior the brand, for me its strength is that “Dior” transcends its makers or its business model. The fashion, like all great art, stands on its own artistic value.
“Dior: From Paris to the World” is on until March 3.
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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