After wowing crowds from London, Paris, Shanghai, Chengdu, Brooklyn, and Doha, the House of Dior’s Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition has now landed at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo (MOT). The exhibition is a retrospective that documents and highlights the maison’s journey from its inception in 1947 all the way to the present day. To reconfigure the exhibition for a new audience at a new home, Dior worked alongside architect Shohei Shigematsu

Photo courtesy of Dior.

The Bond That Ties Dior and Japan

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are welcomed by a stark black room filled with black and white pieces from Dior’s revolutionary and defining New Look era. The modern, minimalist setting emphasizes just how timeless Monsieur Dior’s vision was. 

Following the first room is a celebration of the deep bond that ties the House of Dior and Japan — an exclusive sight that only visitors of the Japan edition get to withhold. In this section, letters, sketches, and reference boards are displayed beside clothing pieces. This segment documents the creative process taking place in the house whilst designing monumental pieces. In this exhibit, looks from iconic collaborations between Dior and Japan — including collaborations with the Daimaru or Kanebo houses, pieces from shows that took place in Japan, and pieces inspired by Japanese tradition, clothing and art — are all featured.

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Dior’s Past, Present, and Future

Next, lies an arrangement of Dior’s archive pieces designed by the current and previous Artistic Directors of Dior, from Christian Dior himself to Maria Grazia Chiuri. With each creative director getting their own designated stage along the hall, fans of the house have a chance to take a close look at designs created by the likes of John Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent, and Raf Simons during their tenure at Dior. 

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Dior Through Yuriko Takagi’s Eyes

After looking through the evolution of Dior, the exhibition showcases a special project in collaboration with Japanese photographer Yuriko Takagi. The photographer was tasked to photograph Dior pieces through her lens, resulting in a dreamy and enchanting series of portraits that have also become a key visual for the exhibit’s branding and merchandise. In the shoot, the photographer worked with dancers and captured them in motion to enhance the beauty and soulfulness of these garments. This is a nod to one of Christian Dior’s famous quotes, inscribed on the walls at the exhibition, “For a dress to be successful, you need to have an idea of how it will move in real life.”

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The Gallery of Toiles

The iconic room of the white toiles follows. Here, museumgoers can take a look at drafts of the house’s most representative pieces. Visitors are able to see the pattern-making and layout process that each piece goes through before finishing the final versions showcased on the runways and in stores.

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An Ode to Miss Dior

Additionally, the exhibit features an ode to Dior’s signature scent, Miss Dior. In a room designed to resemble a garden, visitors can not only enjoy pieces that highlight Christian Dior’s affinity for flowers but also paperwork pieces by Ayumi Shibata, a local legend in paper art. Shibata crafted a grand amount of cut-out flowers that cascade down from the room’s ceiling, which contrast with the mirror flooring that imitates reflective ponds in a garden. 

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A Starry Dior Night

After enjoying a walk in the garden, a starry room welcomes visitors. This section of the exhibit features a circular platform of evening gowns that have been worn by Hollywood’s top stars. The star-filled treat continues up to a slanted platform that displays 35 special gowns originally created for iconic women of our times, from changemakers in politics to A-list celebrities. 

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A Room Full of Ladies

Another highlight of the exhibition is the whimsical tunnel that honors the house’s masterpieces, the Lady Dior bag. In this maroon-colored room, novel versions of the Lady Dior are displayed from the walls up to the ceilings. Rare one-off editions — from the Lady Dior As Seen By project to Dior Lady Art editions — are featured in this surreal bag wonderland.

Photo courtesy of Dior.

Dior Takes on The Globe

Wrapping up the tour, there’s an alluring room of mannequins adorned in looks from Dior’s past eras. The array of pieces showcases how different cultures and countries around the world — including Greece, Egypt, and, of course, Japan — have inspired the work of the house. Large Japanese-style lanterns adorn the backdrop, with a diverse selection of graphic patterns that have been used as inspiration in various past projects. 

Photo courtesy of Dior.

“Christian Dior admired the Japanese for their capacity to ‘combine modernism and tradition.’ A mutual and profound tale of admiration that went on to link Japan — the land of tradition and innovation — with the House, whose retro style revolutionized post-war fashion,” says Florence Müller, curator of the exhibition. “With the first agreements signed in 1953 between Dior and Japanese textile companies of prestige, it was also the beginning of a fruitful cultural and artistic dialogue that lives on today with Maria Grazia Chiuri and this exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.” 

As Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams unveils new and unseen pieces from the house’s archive, this exhibition is a mandatory stop for Dior fans and fashion enthusiasts in Tokyo. The exhibition will be open everyday except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until May 28, 2023. Tickets for the exhibition can be purchased here.

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