The Dior Exhibition: The hit show of the summer

J’adore Dior

One of the hottest exhibitions in Paris this summer is the Christian Dior retrospective at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, celebrating 70 years since the creation of the fashion House of Dior. MLP’s Jennifer Hamerman took her 8-year-old daughter to this fashion extravaganza and the two of them report back!

We knew the Christian Dior exhibition was going to be a highlight for this summer in Paris.  And when we arrived at the museum, the show’s popularity was certainly confirmed.  The queue for those without advance tickets snaked along the entire length of the building.  So that is our first tip for you: buy an advance ticket so, like us, you can be in the much shorter queue!

Bringing fantasy and glamour back to fashion after WW2

My daughter loves clothes and sketching designs for dresses, so we thought this show would be ideal.  The fact that the museum is right next to the Tuileries Gardens also makes it an ideal destination for a sunny Saturday.  We talked a little bit about how Christian Dior emerged as a designer just two years after the Second World War ended, so his beautiful, decadent designs were like a vibrant breath of fresh air after years of deprivation that Paris suffered during the war.  He brought back the pride that Paris had in her glamorous pre-war years.

A feast for the eyes

Dior Exhibition


The exhibition itself is just incredible.  There are 300 hundred exquisite gowns beautifully displayed.  As is always the case at this museum, the exhibition is perfectly curated with imagination and flair.  One of our favourite sections was at the beginning.  There are a series of huge famous black-and-white photos of models including a young Queen Elizabeth wearing Dior.  As each photo lights up in sequence, you can see that actual original gown illuminated behind the photo.

My daughter’s favourite section was the Colorama, with Dior designs collated by colour, a visual feast.  This museum has used the same technique with last year’s blockbuster Barbie exhibition and it is captivating for kids to see huge displays categorised by colour.

The most elegant gift shop ever

My girl and I are unashamed fans of museum gift shops and have often been known to spend more time in them than in whatever exhibition we were supposed to be seeing.  Today was no exception.  We both gasped as we stepped into the Dior-themed gift shop at the museum.  It really was like stepping into an Avenue Montaigne boutique, with jewellery and other high-end gifts elegantly displayed. We emerged with just two postcards which was quite an achievement given the temptations on offer.

Workshops for families and kids

This museum is excellent at providing great workshops and tour for kids and families.  Their Dior season is no exception.  Mr Dior’s Big Garden looks wonderful for the 4 – 6 year-old age group and runs 11 and 18 July, as well as 28 and 31 August.  The Colorama Dior, also for 4 – 6 years, looks fantastic too, and runs 12 and 20 July, as well as 29 August. Both of these workshops are also adapted for older, 7 – 10-year-old kids on different dates so check out the programme.  There is a wonderful looking course of five 2.5 hour sessions for 11 – 14-year-olds to learn all about fashion design.  You should expect that all of these workshops will take place in French but do encourage your kids to take the plunge and give it a go.  They always bring the subject matter to life so much better that trailing around with your parents.

Guided tours in English

There are also two guided visits in English planned for September and you can reserve in advance for the 7th September evening tour as well as the 9th September afternoon tour .  These are not especially aimed at children but are a great opportunity for you to hear all about Christian Dior in English.

While you’re in the neighbourhood…

This museum is literally on the edge of the Tuileries.  So think about taking the kids to the trampolines or the wonderful funfair that is in the gardens for the summer.  If you want to splurge, think about lunch at Loulou.  It’s a restaurant affiliated with the museum with a wonderful outdoor space right in the Tuileries.  Also, keep in mind what a small and walk-able city this is.  My daughter spotted kids carrying their telltale yellow Lego bags… so off to the Lego store at Les Halles we went, a mere ten minutes away.  Let’s just say we emerged from there with rather more than two postcards.

Musee des Arts Decoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

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