A successful exhibition showcasing Christian Dior’s work opens in Tokyo this week, focusing on the French designer’s fascination with Japan and the country’s influence on his pieces.
“Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” comes to Japan after drawing big crowds in Paris, London and New York.
The exhibit, which opens Wednesday, features 350 haute couture dresses, including Japanese-inspired dresses displayed in settings meant to pay homage to Japanese culture.
Architect Shohei Shigematsu created structures that include a covered room with an undulating three-dimensional facade constructed from traditional translucencies. washi paper pasted on wooden frames.
“When Dior makes a skirt, there is a structure and then the fabric is put on top of it,” she told AFP. “I was asked to create a traditional Japanese structure, so I thought of shoji screens, for example, which have a wooden structure and are covered with paper.”
Each section features a different interior design meant to showcase different parts of Japanese culture.
“There is a section inspired by a neat tatami room separated by sliding doors. But not everything in Japan is simple and minimal,” he said. “We have different designs like Japanese gardens and flashy kimonos. I wanted to show the sides of Japan that people don’t know about.”
The house of Dior first presented a show in Japan in 1953, and the designer had a well-known fascination with the country.
“Dior had a lot of respect for traditional Japanese culture and wrote about it in his memoirs,” curator Florence Muller told AFP. “I think there is a mutual fascination between France and Japan.”
Beginning in the 1950s, Dior also collaborated with Japanese companies, giving them the rights to adapt and reproduce Dior looks to suit local tastes.
In a sign of the brand’s popularity, Japan’s former empress Michiko chose a Dior dress made from Japanese textiles when she married then-Prince Akihito in 1959.
The Tokyo show, which runs until May 28, includes archival pieces and works by more recent creative directors, and showcases a variety of items inspired by Japan.
Among them are a John Galliano coat with ‘The Great Wave Off Kanagawa’ printed at the base of its full skirt and robes cinched with Japanese obi-style belts by Raf Simons.
Also on display is Dior’s austere jacket dress called “Rashomon,” the name of a Japanese novel and film directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa.
“This exhibition shows the mutual respect between Japan and France in their approach to craftsmanship, fashion, design and art,” said Shigematsu.
© 2022 AFP