This month in Granville, Normandy, marks the opening of the newest exhibition at the Musée Christian Dior, Dior: The Legendary Images, on view until September 21. The show is a selection of garments and photographs from the 1940s through today, each featuring Dior clothes from across the decades, which coincide with the rise of fashion photography. It was curated by Florence Muller, who previously curated shows at the Villa Noailles, the Le Bon Marché department store, and a celebrated YSL retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2010.
Press were invited for an official viewing last night, and on a tour of the three-story property — formerly the designer’s childhood residence — Muller noted that Normandy’s “strong natural elements — the water, the rocky shore, the wind” were important visual and sentimental cues for Dior. Highlights among the 200 images — featuring shots from greats like Norman Parkinson, William Klein, and Erwin Blumenfeld — were the photographs that underscored just how quintessentially Parisienne Dior’s looks were. There’s a Clifford Colin shot of a model in a regal ensemble du soir (S/S 1948 haute couture) ascending the grand staircase of the lavish Opéra Garnier. There’s a droll Arthur Elgort print of a model in an écru linen afternoon dress (S/S 1999 haute couture), poodle in tow, indecisively contemplating three tiered shelves of flaky viennoiseries. There’s a Mark Shaw color print of a model in a full-skirted Palais de Glace dress (A/W haute couture 1957), in front of the Louvre métro entrance with a map in her hand and a skip in her step. It’s a veritable checklist of Paris staples as much as striking fashion. Click through the slideshow for a look at the exhibit.