Visiting the exhibition “CHRISTIAN DIOR, COUTURIER DU RÊVE”

Let me be completely upfront with you.

This review is going to be nothing but breathless prose, incoherent, uncritical admiration and lots of photos of THE most fabulous exhibition imaginable.

Yes, indeed, my reviewing colours nailed well & truly to the mast.

If you haven’t already seen the breathtaking retrospective of the work of Christian Dior, then make time.

Go. See. It.

Go to Paris, if you are not lucky enough to live there.

Go.

See this stupendous exhibition of wondrous clothes, exhibited in an absolutely stunning way.

BUT – if you do go, be sure to book in advance, but that will not stop you having to queue, I warn you.  Pre-booked tickers make for a shorter queue, but there is still quite a lot of waiting involved.

And whatever you do, do NOT go on a holiday or over the weekend, if you can avoid it.  We couldn’t, being only briefly “de passage à Paris,” and the crowds and the heat definitely spoiled a lot of the enjoyment.  I was surprised at the lack of crowd control and crowd flow.

There were, quite frankly, w-a-y too many people in each room, and there were several exhibits in the early stages, in the first 2/3 rooms that we could hardly see, so thick was the crowd.  Have to wonder why they don’t have a system of timed tickets, enabling better crowd movement.

Right, having got that off my chest, let me rave about the clothes on display.

From the museum’s website, in their own words:

“The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior. This lavish and comprehensive exhibition invites visitors on a voyage of discovery through the universe of the House of Dior’s founder and the illustrious couturiers who succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and, most recently, Maria Grazia Chiuri.”

There are sumptuous gowns and frocks and dresses on display, grouped sometimes by designer, sometimes by theme, sometimes accompanied by a work of art that inspired the designer.

And by “work of art” we are talking Old Masters and Egyptian statues.  Too fabulous.

Like so.

There were dresses that were simply breathtaking in their beauty:

Seriously, how utterly jaw-droppingly gorgeous are these 2 confections (above)?

Sometimes, you need to stop drooling over the outfits, and take a moment and try & separate the clothes themselves from the way of displaying them, to admire the genius of the people who curated the exhibition (below).

There is drama and theatricality in the presentation, but never too much so as to overshadow the clothes.


I loved the groupings by colour:

I loved the groupings by country and influence… will you just look at that flamenco inspired dress!  To die for.  Total perfection.

Now look at these 3 dresses in luscious shades of pink (below).

The reverential atmosphere was lightened at this display by a tiny, wee Australian muppet, who pointed to the dress at the left and said in a loud voice, “That’s my dress, Mummy”.

There was a sigh of agreement from every woman in the vicinity.

I loved every single thing about this exhibition.  Except the crowds.

Totally & utterly recommended.  Even with the crowds.

CHRISTIAN DIOR, COUTURIER DU RÊVE  from 5 July 2017 to 7 January 2018

Musée des Arts décoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris
France

We paid for our own tickets and no-one knew that I blog and review.

EP : Extended Play by Karam K. Puri at Gallery Espace, New Delhi

I always knew that my friend Karam Puri was a talented and, most importantly, a very technically gifted photographer.  That was clear from the way he kindly and patiently taught me how to take photos in Ladakh’s challenging evening light, but it was not until seeing his beautiful photographs in Gallery Espace in New Delhi, that the full force of his talent became clear.

The just opened exhibition entitled EP : Extended Play is a tender and affectionate look at the fading lifestyle of the former rulers of India’s princely states.

EP 03

In a series of evocative, superbly composed images, we get a glimpse into what was once a life of luxury and privilege, but that is now, sadly, a little frayed around the edges.  Never falling into clichés, Karam shows us the dustiness and shabbiness that now overlay the grandeur and style of the past.

EP 14

Here, listen to the artist in his own words:

“The air is thick with melancholy. These walls speak a language of loss, lost time and stillness.

The plaster peels off lime washed walls while crackling melodies play to an empty room. The needle glides gently along the surface of vinyl at the deliberate pace of 33 revolutions per minute. In this world, in these rooms that long to be filled as they once were, time is suspended, moving only in slow circles. Repetition gives the illusion of forward momentum where only stillness is left.

Tea is served the way it has been for centuries. Faces of the past adorn the walls.

These spaces, homes of the Nawabs and Rajas, now find themselves victims of their own lust for an opulence that once was. They are now time capsules, suspended in a world that changes rapidly around them.

Much like a movie set waits for actors to give life and breath to the illusion, these house’s wait, to be satisfied once again, by the stories that they long to be home to. The rooms yearn for people to come back; for the music to play; for the scandals to unfold; for courtesans to dance and for the finest wines to be uncorked again.

E.P.: Extended Play aims to capture, explore and expose the sense of lost grandeur not through the stories of the people but essentially through the stories of the rooms usually unfolding a narrative. Shot over a period of six years across the Indian subcontinent, these majestic homes of Rajas and Nawabs have lost many of their privileges and their power. They are still given the utmost respect by their subjects, but can no longer afford the lives they once did. This suite of 24 images shot both on film and digitally tell stories of a lifestyle lost to time, suspended in the belief that one day the music will once again play at 33 revolutions per minute.”

As Karam says, these rooms are indeed like a movie set, for there are no people in them.  Just objects, elegantly displayed, the way they have been for decades.

EP 01

 

Do visit this exhibition, which is on until 8 August.

Here is the link to the website of Gallery Espace with their address – it’s in New Friend’s Colony.EP 04