Sunday, March 21, 2021

Christian Dior @ the McCord

Until May 2, Montreal's McCord Museum will host a tribute to Christian Dior. Fans of fashion and of the textile arts will find much of interest. 

silks and velvets in abundance

We learn about the appetite for high fashion after World War II. Dior is quoted as saying that, after wartime austerity, "women wanted to feel like women again". He achieved a sense of opulence with his extravagant use of fine fabrics. Wartime skirts and suits were cut so as to use a minimal amount of cloth; post-war, Dior embraced pleats to achieve a lavish amount of fabric.

We trace the process of couture, from an original idea to a mock-up in muslin, to realization in the hands of needleworkers.

beads, sequins, and threads

Impressive samples of embroidery and beading are on display.

Videos give visitors a taste of the in-house fashion show. Tall, thin, wasp-waisted, the models seem like creatures from an entirely different world. I had not realized that wearing many of these structured dresses required a "dresser" to fasten all the hooks and eyes.

One wonders about the parallels between post-war fashion and post-pandemic fashion. Will we be ready to give up our "athleisure wear" and sneakers for something more structured, more formal? It will be interesting to see how the fashion industry tries to create an appetite for something new and different.

The number of visitors to the museum is controlled with time-specific tickets. Phone the McCord or go to their website. Admission to non-members is free on the first Sunday of the month.

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