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.

The Hundred Foot Journey

It’s not that any film with the  glorious Helen Mirren and the equally glorious Om Puri will automatically be brilliant…well, actually, now you come to mention it, yes, it will, and yes “The Hundred Foot Journey” is.

This is one of those genuinely feel-good movies, and to see it in Delhi (where I live) made it even more special.

The story line is simple.  Indian immigrants, fleeing mob violence in Mumbai, and the death of the family matriarch, end up in the South of France and decide to settle there and open an Indian restaurant.

They end up in the South of France more by accident than by design, since their old rattletrap of a car pretty much makes the decision for them, giving up the ghost just outside a perfectly bijou little hamlet in France.

They find a property and start to rebuild the restaurant they had in Mumbai, before it was burned to the ground.

The only problem is that their chosen venue is right across the road – about 100 feet away, in fact – from a one star Michelin restaurant, owned and run by Madame Mallory, played to perfection by Helen Mirren. I don’t know why I was surprised at the excellence of Ms Mirren’s French. Stupid of me, really.

Throw in yet more racism – tackled head on by Madame Mallory – and oodles of “snobbisme”, and a burgeoning romance or two, and the result is a gorgeous, happy, genuinely feel good film.
Seeing it in India, Om Puri’s muttered Hindi asides (many of them asking advice of his beloved late wife) needed no translation, and the audience clearly loved him and his approach to the patronising snobbery of Madame Mallory.

It was fun watching the crucial (& cross-cultural) masala omelette test. I guessing having lived away from Europe for so, so many years, and having come to expect/require a dash of masala on everything, the idea of experiencing a masala omelette for the very first time is cute –  we dilliwalas certainly enjoyed Madame’s reaction.

There is no great message, no particularly heavy insights to be gleaned from “The Hundred Foot Journey” – so just sit back and enjoy the film.
It is visually lovely, has a feel-good ending, so what more can one ask?

Ms Mirren and Mr. Puri are excellent.

And as for the gorgeous Manish Dayal…well…

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PADD Paris

The expression “a one stop shop” may be a tad clichéd, but for once it is an absolutely accurate description of PADD, an elegant shop on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, where you can buy everything you could possibly need for horse riding.

Well, barring the horse.

Otherwise, just about everything equestrian you can think of is available – and it they don’t have it in stock, they will happily order it for you.

Attracted by a display of polo mallets in the window,  I went in and enquired about a polo saddle.  Only one in stock, but they would put me in touch with the manufacturer, pas de probleme.  The staff couldn’t have been nicer or more friendly, and the thick, glossy catalogue they happily gave me was a work of art on its own.

Prices seems competitive, too.

 

And the website is www.padd.fr

FUXIA restaurant PARIS

A popular, busy Italian restaurant on the rue des Martyrs in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, FUXIA offers classic Italian food at reasonable prices.  We were 3 for lunch, and eschewing starters, we ate well, with good food, and more than healthy portions.

Between us, we had a rigatoni siciliana for €12, a lasagne carne for €13.50 (very substantial and possibly overly generous on the tomato sauce) and a delicious risotto roquette for €15 which was far too copious to finish.

Rapid service, a friendly waiter eager to try out his English, though we suspected he was flirting with our youngest and prettiest diner, and a sort-of view of Sacré Coeur from our pavement table, if you craned your neck a bit.

All the elements you need for a brisk, no-nonsense summer lunch.

Total bill for 3, with 3 mains, 1 Orangina and 1 coffee =  €46

Fuxia

25 rue des Martyrs

75009 Paris

tel : 01 48 78 93 25

www.fuxia.fr