Photo © Daici Ano
An event of unprecedented scope, celebrating more than ever the ties uniting Dior and Japan
Subsequent to its success at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris1, the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition has been reinvented at the MOT, Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo, from December 21, 2022 to May 28, 2023, through the eyes of its curator Florence Müller. Thanks to a new scenographic narrative – much like a homage to Japanese culture – by architect Shohei Shigematsu from the OMA agency in New York, this event crowns more than seventy-five years of creative passion, initiated by the pioneering vision of Christian Dior.
An invitation to explore the life of the founding-couturier, the visit opens with a prelude exalting his love for art. The first room, in a game of daring black and white contrasts, stages the revolutionary New Look and the irresistible modernity that it embodies. Celebrating the deep friendship uniting Dior and Japan2, this journey into space and time – from Paris to Tokyo – is prolonged with totally unprecedented archive documents that relate the privileged bond Christian Dior enjoyed with this country, the sense of excellence and detail of which he shared. In turn, letters, sketches and pieces from shows which took place in Japanese cities are thus unveiled; a multitude of enthralling souvenirs and accounts, notably expressing the unrivalled collaborations between Dior and the Daimaru or Kanebo houses.
This voyage continues with the highlighting of creations signed by the different Artistic Directors of Dior in the bewitching shots of Yuriko Takagi. These poetic images face the legendary silhouettes of Monsieur Dior’s successors in a pared-down atmosphere, evoking that of traditional Japanese architecture. After a dreamlike wander, marked by the photographer’s captivating prints, the visitor arrives at the iconic room of the white toiles, illuminating the virtuosity of the ateliers, which is reinterpreted in a play of curves paying homage to the Dior lines.
A reflection of the fascinating dialogue between the Japanese aesthetic and the inventiveness of Maison Dior driving this retrospective, an enchanted garden in praise of the beauty of nature, presents the paperwork pieces of artist Ayumi Shibata. Multiple themes dear to the House – from gold to the splendor of flowers, from J’adore to Miss Dior – are revealed, while the Colorama3, a magical cabinet of curiosities in chromatic shades, is enhanced by the work of Joël Andrianomearisoa, reaffirming the essential role of Dior accessories, from cosmetics and perfumes to the hats of Stephen Jones. Visitors can also discover models that have sublimated some of the most dazzling female personalities, from Grace Kelly to Natalie Portman via Marilyn Monroe, who also appears in three Andy Warhol screen prints belonging to the MOT. Selected works from this precious museum collection close the exhibition.
Another moment of wonder comes in the form of sumptuous evening garments flourishing at a majestic ball. A new chapter of this artistic odyssey, the Lady Dior bag, a timeless icon of the House, is metamorphosed in novel versions that have crossed the globe thanks to the nomadic Lady Dior As Seen By project or works dreamed up for Dior Lady Art editions. A world tour of inspirations – from Greece to Spain, India to Egypt, and to Japan –, which have shaped Dior style season after season, comes to life in an animated decor. As a final surprise, this experience that suspends time is drawn to an end with the dress elaborated by Penny Slinger in tribute to the iconic façade of 30 Montaigne. When the country of the Rising-Sun encounters the Dior dream, from art to fashion.
A catalogue has been released for this event featuring the photographs of Yuriko Takagi
Published to accompany the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition that will open its doors at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo on December 21, 2022, a new book celebrates the heritage and modernity of the Maison from 1947 to the present day.
Unveiling the mesmerizing shots of photographer Yuriko Takagi, this opus explores in depth, and for the first time, the ties uniting Dior and Japan through unprecedented texts signed by Kazuko Koike, Akiko Fukai, Kaya Tsujita, Florence Müller, Vincent Leret and Olivier Flaviano. An enchanted ode to the cultural dialogues and unique patrimony of the Maison.
The exhibition is open every day except Monday, from 10am to 6pm.
The last entrance is at 5.30pm.
Online booking is recommended and can be made from December 14 using the following link: https://www.e-tix.jp/mot/
“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. 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.”
Florence Müller, curator of the exhibition
“We’re honored to design a new spatial narrative within the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, that draws from Dior’s storied relationship to Japan as well as the country’s current cultural contexts to showcase Dior’s creative continuity in a new light. Our collaboration with Dior across multiple cities and venues has been an exciting opportunity to continuously rethink and recontextualize the retrospective in response to its specific, local setting, much like Christian Dior’s own global expedition and influence.”
Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner
1 A retrospective elaborated for the 70th anniversary of the House, presented in Paris in 2017, then in London, Shanghai, Chengdu, Doha and New York.
2 As early as childhood, Christian Dior was drawn to this country as a fascinating place that he never ceased to pay tribute to through his creations, and with which he had a unique relationship. A spellbinding encounter that can be found in the complementary press document: Dior et le Japon, une amitié passionnée.
3 Devised by Alighieri.