Every now and then someone enters your life who is so special that they just lift up everyone around them. Throughout our blogging journey Aurelio Costarella has been one of those people who constantly inspire us with everything he creates. He is currently in Paris and has written a very special post for us to share along with some of his incredible images from his private tour of the House of Dior exhibition showing at Les Arts Décoratifs. Follow along for more of his stunning trip on Instagram at @aureliocostarella.
I sit in a Parisienne cafe reflecting on one of the most magical moments of my life.
I’ve been fortunate to have seen some impressive fashion retrospectives over the years; Alexander McQueen at the Met in New York, Christian Lacroix and Dries Van Noten at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Nothing has come close to the scale and spectacle of this 70th anniversary homage to the legacy of Christian Dior.
Avoiding a 5 hour wait in a queue, I was fortunate to secure a tour of the much acclaimed House of Dior exhibition on the penultimate day. The most expansive and prolific exhibition I have seen at Les Arts Décoratifs. The exhibition spanned the entire museum and included 300 Haute Couture pieces from the archives of Maison Dior.
Each room a tribute to a collection, period or theme of the archive.
Beginning in 1947 with the first, post-World War 2 collection by Christian Dior. The collection aptly dubbed 'New Look', revolutionised the fashion world. Hailed globally, it was the collection that changed the face of fashion. Christian Dior was at the helm for a brief 10 years before his untimely death at age 52.
Yves Saint Laurent was appointed his successor from 1959 – 1961. The brilliance of YSL shone. His timeless pieces and legendary silhouettes still favourites.
The longest serving Creative Director, Marc Bohan, took the helm for 30 years with some of the most iconic pieces of the 90’s.
In 1989 Gianfranco Ferré stepped in, the first Italian designer to steer Dior, followed by the genius of John Galliano from 1996 – 2011. Galliano played to the extravagance and legacy of the brand, a true visionary and a highlight of the exhibition.
The uber minimalist Raf Simons navigated Dior into a fresh contemporary luxe direction for three short years before his departure in 2015.
Most recently, Maria Grazia Chiuri was poached from Valentino in 2016 to head up Creative Direction.
Alongside the garments is the most wide-ranging display of legendary fashion photographs by the likes of Avedon, Penn, Norman Parkinson, Cecil Beaton and Paolo Roversi, capturing the likes of Dovima, Lisa Fonsagrives-Penn and Audrey Hepburn.
Hundreds of documents; illustrations, sketches, documentary photographs, letters and notes. Fashion accessories; hats, jewellery, bags, shoes and perfume bottles.
The most captivating room, a hanging garden of paper flowers was installed to depict Christian Dior’s passion for flowers and gardens – one which has proved a constant inspiration for the brand’s creations. They bloom alongside a backdrop of artworks by Claude Monet and Marc Quinn.
Standing before some of the most legendary Couture gowns was an incredibly emotional experience. It was difficult holding back the tears as I marvelled at pieces worn by Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn.
I was taken back to the little boy who had long admired the work of Dior as I gazed in awe at the detail and cut of each piece.