Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
The House of Dior is built on Christian Dior‘s spirit of innovation and global fashion reach, a legacy that survives and evolves simultaneously with the contributions of each creative director. The scenography for Dior: From Paris to the World at the Denver Art Museum and Dallas Art Museum defined continuous narrative journeys – in each, a continuous journey and a unifying backdrop for the garments and works of art that reflect the House of Dior for over 70 years.
In Japan, a land of both technological innovation and a rich and traditional culture, the Design for Christian Dior: Designers of Dreams exhibition reflects a diverse plurality in historical and contemporary contexts. The scenario reinvents the white cube gallery beyond its limits to offer an immersive and varied scenography with rooms oscillating between light and dark, intimate and grandiose, organic and orthogonal.
On the two floors of the MOT, 22 curatorial themes are placed in distinct, specific and immersive environments. The scenographies use different techniques, materials or motifs, referring to Japanese heritage and culture and to the elements shared between Dior’s history and contemporary collections.
The visual and spatial qualities of familiar elements and construction techniques such as shoji screens and Nebuta 1 tanks are manipulated, exaggerated and created in contemporary forms. Familiar and mysterious constructed landscapes create a series of distinct, immersive environments and a new set of surfaces to expand storytelling capabilities.
In one of the main themes of the exhibition, “Dior and Japan”, a winding path similar to the stations of the Japanese tea garden and its windows extend vertically and horizontally. The wooden frame is wrapped in backlit tenjiku fabric and awagami washi paper, creating a bright, layered backdrop for clothing and artwork. The three-dimensional landscape is projected with various patterns and patterns to further activate the space.
“The Dior Legacy” is a unified structure of spaces dedicated to the seven creative directors of the House of Dior. Extended fabric panels are placed as enfilade dividers that take inspiration from the Fusuma 2 and Sudare 3 hanging panels commonly used in Japanese interiors to organize multiple environments in a single space. The screens used to divide the space are printed with larger than life photographs by Yuriko Takagi, creating additional narrative support that provides a visual sense of continuity from one creative director to the next.
The “floor” of the museum’s atrium is raised and angled to bisect the raised space diagonally, creating a two-sided display. The summit becomes a single, giant slope for the exhibition’s grandest setting, “Le bal Dior”, where models in dresses ascend as spectators watch their “cortege” below or above the bridge.
An angular mirror at the top of the slope extends the geometry to infinity and unexpectedly reflects the clothes and the landscape. A more intimate atmosphere is inserted for “Worldwide Dyer”. Visitors enter a domed room composed of layers of concentric fabric surfaces, forming a visible hemisphere with animated projections.
Along with nine other rooms, a sequence of individual themes and environments compose a varied exhibition scenario. The rooms collectively take visitors on a journey of discovery through the history of the Maison Dior, revealing the multifaceted relationship between the Maison and Japan against contemporary juxtapositions.
1 Nebuta – depicts a warrior statue carried around the city center during the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri festival in Japan
2 Fusuma – vertical, rectangular sliding panels on upper and lower wooden tracks, used to redefine spaces in a room or as a door
3 Sudare – Traditional Japanese curtains or blinds made of horizontal slats of wood or bamboo, woven together by string.