Victoria & Albert Museum brings Christian Dior exhibition to the UK

LONDON MOMENT: The Victoria & Albert Museum is shifting the spotlight onto Christian Dior for its next major fashion exhibition, opening in February.

The London museum plans to adapt “Christian Dior: Couturier of Dreams,” the popular show that opened last year at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, for a U.K. audience. The exhibition will be the largest Dior exhibition held in the country and the V&A’s biggest fashion exhibition since “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.”

The collaboration between the French house and the museum was announced during a cocktail held Sunday evening at the British embassy in Paris.

The show will trace the history of the house and the impact of Christian Dior, and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. A new section will be added that explores Christian Dior’s relationship with Britain, from his fascination with English gardens, Savile Row and British ocean liners, to his circle of London-based clients, including Nancy Mitford and Margot Fonteyn.

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“Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris — as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ — will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain,” said Tim Reeve, the museum’s deputy director and chief operating officer.

The show will also aim to breathe new life into some of the couturier’s most memorable British shows from the first one held at the Savoy Hotel to the presentation at Blenheim Palace in 1954.

A Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations — on loan from the Museum of London — will also be on display, alongside Bar Suits from the V&A’s archive and more than 200 couture garments.

Oriole Cullen, fashion and textiles curator at the V&A, added that the new show will aim to celebrate the ongoing cultural and historical relevance of the work of both Christian Dior and his successors.

“In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look,’ which reinvigorated the post-war Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognized Dior’s important contribution to design history early on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the Fifties onward. More than 70 years after its founding, the exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior.”

The exhibition will run until July 2019.


Homes of British Royalty through the years
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Homes of British Royalty through the years
17 Brunton Street: Then
Unlike Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who both had hospital births, Princess Elizabeth was born—on April 21, 1926—at London home of her maternal grandparents, Claude and Cecilia, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. At the time of her birth, Elizabeth, who was delivered via cesarean, was third in line to the throne.
17 Brunton Street: Then

At left, the Duchess of York leaves 17 Bruton Street on her way to the christening of her daughter, Princess Elizabeth. (The photo at right is from the event itself.) In 1937, the property—along with its neighbor, No. 18—was demolished.

17 Brunton Street: Now
Today 17 Brunton Street houses Hakkasan, a Cantonese restaurant that can hold 220 people on its two floors. The rectangular plaque was put up in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and the round plaque below was added in 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee.
White Lodge, Richmond Park: Then
The Duke and Duchess of York (Elizabeth’s parents) moved into White Lodge—a hunting lodge built for George II in 1727—shortly after marrying. In part due to the lack of privacy, the family moved to London shortly after Elizabeth’s birth.
White Lodge, Richmond Park: Now
The lodge would go on to house both royals and non-royals until 1955, when the Sadler's Wells Ballet School took up residence. Since renamed the Royal Ballet School, it is one of the leading ballet schools in the world. Prince Charles, pictured here with the head of the training school in 2004, took over the role of president at the school following the death of his aunt Princess Margaret.
145 Piccadilly: Then
Shortly after Elizabeth’s birth, her family moved into the royal town house at 145 Piccadilly.
145 Piccadilly: Then
The home, which offered 25 bedrooms, also had an extensive shared back garden, where Elizabeth reportedly played with other children. Also, corgis. The building—along with many others in London—was destroyed in 1940, during World War II.
145 Piccadilly: Now
Between 1968 and 1975 the luxury hotel InterContinental London Park Lane was designed and constructed at the site of the Elizabeth’s former home. It opened in September 1975.
Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park: Then
Royal living, at its finest: When she was six, Elizabeth’s family took over the Royal Lodge as their country retreat. The people of Wales gifted the princess with her own small house Y Bwthyn Bach (the Little Cottage) which still stands on the grounds. (That’s the Queen Mum in the gardens with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the left photo, and the princesses on the back terrace of the lodge at right.)
Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park: Then
Here’s the Little Cottage, with Prince Charles and Princess Anne playing with their grandmother.
Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park: Then
To put things in perspective, here’s Princess Elizabeth outside the not-so-little Little Cottage.
Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park: Now
The Queen Mother called the Royal Lodge country home until her death there in 2002. It has since been the official residence of Prince Andrew—Queen Elizabeth’s second-youngest child—the father of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. (Their mother is Sarah Ferguson.)
Buckingham Palace: Then
Depicted here in a circa 1894 painting, Buckingham Palace had already been a part of the royal family for more than 100 years at this point. (It was purchased by King George III in 1761.) Elizabeth and her family moved in when she was 10; she would move to the nearby Clarence House after marrying Prince Phillip but returned to the castle when she became queen in 1952. All three of Queen Elizabeth’s sons were born in Buckingham Palace, while her only daughter, Anne, was born at Clarence House.
Buckingham Palace: Now
The official London residence of the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh is generally occupied by them Monday through Friday. The 775-room palace has 52 royal bedrooms, as well as 19 state rooms for official functions. (The latter are open to the public annually for most of August and September, and on selected days in spring and winter.) Princess Charlotte made her Buckingham Palace balcony debut following the Trooping the Colour ceremony to mark the queen's official 90th birthday over the weekend.
Windsor Castle: Then
Set over 13 acres, Windsor Castle, which was originally built in the 11th century, encompasses a palace and a small town. It was used as a refuge for the royal family during the Second World War and went on to survive a fire in 1992. King Henry VIII was laid to rest on the grounds, as were nine other monarchs.
Windsor Castle: Now
The official country residence is generally occupied by the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh most weekends, a month over Easter, a week in June for Royal Ascot, another various holidays. Since 1943, the private grounds have been home to the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which the royal family attends. (At left, the Coaching Marathon race, which is part of the show.)
Kensington Palace: Then
Prince Charles and Diana (at left, with a baby Prince William) took up residence at Kensington Palace, the childhood home of Queen Victoria, after their 1981 wedding; she continued to live their after their divorce in 1996. Following her death in 1987, 100,000 people per day passed through the palace.
Kensington Palace: Now
The official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, as well as Prince Harry. You may remember Prince George greeting President Obama and the First Lady in a tiny bathrobe there earlier this year.
Clarence House: Then
For nearly 50 years, from 1953 to 2002, Clarence House was the London home of the Queen Mother. A newlywed Princess Elizabeth and her groom, Prince Philip, would set up residence at Clarence House, which was built between 1825 and 1827, after their marriage. Their daughter Anne, Princess Royal, was born there in 1950. (All three of the queen’s sons were born in Buckingham Palace, where Elizabeth and Philip would live after she ascended the throne.)
Clarence House: Now
All the queen’s men—well, many of them—have called Clarence House home. Today it’s the official London residence of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Prince William lived here from 2003 to 2011, until he was married, and it was Prince Harry’s official home from 2003 to 2012. In 2012, Charles and Camilla welcomed the Dalai Lama at Clarence House.
Sandringham House: Then
Inherited from the queen’s father, Sandringham House is a private estate in Norfolk, England, that spans 20,000 acres. Diana, who would of course marry to become the Princess of Wales, was born and raised at Park House, which is located next door to Sandringham. The original hall was built in 1771.
Sandringham House: Then
Sandringham House is also the final resting place for many of the queen’s four-legged companions.
Sandringham House: Now
Anmer Hall, located on the grounds of the estate, is the second residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte; the 10-bedroom country home was gifted to William room Kate from the queen on their wedding day. The couple added a glass-walled garden room in 2013.
Sandringham House: Now
Princess Charlotte was photographed by her mother inside Amner Hall and on its grounds this spring. The palace released the photos to celebrate the princess’s first birthday.
Back to Buckingham Palace
Of course there are other royals with other residences—and many royals have homes outside of England—but that covers most of our favorites in England. (No offense, Beatrice and Eugenie.) So we’ll leave it to Princess Charlotte to wave goodbye.

(#ht: Mirror, where we got a lot of our history lessons.)


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