PARIS — Christian Dior is set to take a high-heeled stroll through cinema history next month in a retrospective that traces the design house's close links with the fashions — and fickleness— of the silver screen.
The exhibit, "Stars in Dior," will feature a rare collection of some 50 Dior gowns, worn by actresses including Grace Kelly, Olivia de Havilland and Elizabeth Taylor, both on and off the screen over six decades.
"For Dior, cinema was so important — not many people know, but that's where it all started. In the beginning, he first designed costumes for ballet and film," exhibit curator Barbara Jeauffroy-Mairet said Tuesday.
The show, at the Christian Dior museum in the designer's childhood home in Normandy, will also present an entire section dedicated uniquely to German-American actress Marlene Dietrich, a fashion icon and Dior client since 1947.
Known for her androgynous style, the collection will feature insightful documentary evidence about the star, such as telegrams, bills and receipts for men's sweaters she ordered from the house.
Dietrich, a close friend of the designer, once famously refused to star in an Alfred Hitchcock film unless he created the costumes, according to Jeauffroy-Mairet. "She declared, 'No Dior, No Dietrich,' and this exhibit really shows how headstrong she was."
The curator also said some of the 10 Dietrich ensembles will highlight how unique and daring she was when it came to her wardrobe.
Spread over three floors, the multimedia exhibit will additionally connect the dots between film and fashion with movie clips and posters. There will be behind the scenes footage from a recent TV advertising campaign called "J'adore Dior," featuring Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron alongside images of other Hollywood legends including Kelly and Marilyn Monroe.
"Stars in Dior" opens May 12 at the Christian Dior Museum and runs through Sept. 23. A companion book is planned.