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Exclusive: Dior to Celebrate its Unique Heritage with its First Exhibition in the Middle East

Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, headband, earrings, rings, Dior Haute Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia

Dior is celebrating its unique heritage with its first exhibition in the Middle East. Taking place in Qatar, in collaboration with Qatar Museums, the exhibition named Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, will be presented at M7, a design and innovation hub located in Msheireb Downtown Doha, from November 2021 to March 2022. The exhibition will be adapted specifically for Qatar, with some pieces making their public debut. This new edition follows its success at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and several museums around the world, including London and New York.

Featuring a new scenographic narrative, the exhibition, curated by Olivier Gabet, Director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, will display previous and new haute couture designs by Christian Dior. This includes the famous Bar suit, which is a white satin jacket with soft shoulders, nipped-in waist, and flowering black skirt, that launched the New Look in 1947 and redefined femininity and Paris as a city of youth and newness.

Bar afternoon ensemble (detail), Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1947, Corolle line. Ecru shantung jacket and black wool pleated skirt. Musée des Arts décoratifs, UFAC collection, Paris. Gift of Christian Dior, 1958. Inv. UF 58-29-1. Photo by Laziz Hamani

The exhibition will also showcase the creations of the creative directors who succeeded him, such as French designers Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohan, Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré, British-Gibraltarian designer John Galliano, Belgian designer Raf Simons and Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri – as well as a selection of works and decorative objects from the collections of Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Icons representing the house’s history will also be on display, including versions of the Lady Dior bag reinterpreted for the Dior Lady Art project, a signature handbag in lambskin topstitched with the iconic Cannage motif, with rounded handles, named after Diana, Princess of Wales. The displays will also be punctuated by motifs from Dior’s 30 Avenue Montaigne address in Paris, the city of Versailles, which is the founding couturier’s muse, and his beloved gardens.

The exhibition was also reinvented for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chendgu, and for the Brooklyn Museum, New York, where it opened on September 10, 2021.

Dior’s Resort 2020 collection in Marrakech. Photo: Filippo Fior /

While the exhibition is the first of its kind in the region, Dior’s connection to the Middle East and North Africa goes way back. In 2004, the then creative director John Galliano presented his spring 2004 couture collection which was inspired by an aerial tour of Egypt, including monumental motifs of the Valley of the Kings, Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor. More recently, in 2019, Dior jetted to Marrakech, showcasing its Resort 2020 collection named Common Ground created in collaboration with several African artists. Earlier in the same year, the house displayed its spring-summer 2019 haute couture collection in Dubai.

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