Thursday evening’s early departure from work was intended to spare us the worst of the crowds at le musée des arts décoratifs de Paris. We were partially successful; having been thwarted last weekend by the lack of pre-purchased tickets and the incredibly long line, we managed to catch what we would find was the leading edge of the after-work crowd, a somewhat surprising response to the exhibition entitled Christian Dior, couturier du rêve.
As to the actual quality of the exhibit, I remain unsure. Having escaped the bizarrely-hot first few rooms, I found myself with a bit of an odd feeling when presented with walls of Dior, um, stuff, presented as a color spectrum. My initial thought was that the curation was a bit lacking; the breathless descriptions insisted that the “New Look” was revolutionary and important, but as someone who is not an octogenarian, a woman, or French, I found the insistence a bit strange, particularly when it would not have been difficult to show off a few of these supposedly horrible post-war jumpsuits (I’m well aware that said garments were not actually jump suits; the word “utilitarian” was tossed around quite a bit though). My feeling that this was more of an advertisement for Dior as opposed to a meaningful exhibition was confirmed as we proceeded through the remainder of that half of the exhibit, wherein we watched various Dior ad campaigns and saw bottles of Dior perfume accompanied by Dior’s assertion regarding perfume being an essential component of a dress.
The second half of the exhibit was marginally more educational; collections by each of the head designers were presented, though essentially no mention was made of the entry an exit conditions of a given designer (per Wikipedia, these were largely drama-filled and, on more than one occasion, not indicative of a sane corporation). There was no mention, either, of the multiple bankruptcies that almost killed the brand at various points.
All that aside, I suppose that it wasn’t terrible; the museum does have quite the bookshop.