Made in France: The Toronto Edition
By Princess Theadora
Bonjour! Bonne Année!
Rocking a New Me for the New Year—this week, I’m taking you to the 70th anniversary Christian Dior exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. That’s right, we’re going slink along the icy Mink Mile (faux, please) in the breath-taking Queen City. So grab my pearl-studded mitten. Grab your girdle, too!
Curated by Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the show shines a bright spotlight on 38 wasp-waisted wonders, advertisements, sketches, and photographs, along with endless catwalk clips from Paris and Toronto fashion shows. After a few spins around the rebelliously boned and flared showstoppers, I could hardly breathe from excitement.
“Give me your A, H, and Y-shaped silhouettes, Monsieur Dior! Tulip, too! Bring it!” I squeaked, suddenly feeling the polyester seams in my own nipped-waist blazer by Zara working overtime.
The mind reels! Whilst imagining the logistics of the tight maneuvering, rib-popping squeeze into one of the vintage Christian Dior numbers, then and there I pledged to self never, ever to feast on another half-dozen cookies, or at least not in one sitting. But luckily for all the bakers in world, my one-hour resolution was just a passing fancy. #Gottobeme
Most of the “New Look” Dior dresses in the exhibition were donated by Toronto socialites, and scored at the Holt Renfrew department store during the 1950s.
At the time, the shop president Alvin J. Walker had not only just signed a five-year license for the exclusive rights to sell Dior in Canada, but he also got the Botanist Couturier to pop by Holt Renfrew at the launch of the new flagship on Bloor Street with romp and circumstance. No expense was too great. Models from Paris were even flown in for the extra-extravaganza.
“Christian Dior is NOW in Canada, ONLY at Holt Renfrew!” roared the headlines.
New Look: Ligne Parfaite
The fashion forward executive also sent his fleet of buyers to the City of Light’s fashion weeks throughout the year to scoop up haute couture goodies by Pierre Balmain, Jacques Fath, and Jacques Griffe. Front row seating, no doubt. During the nifty fifties, Holt Renfrew was a Paradise Found for any Toronto-based Francophile.
What’s so funny about global love, peace, and passion for fashion? Absolutely nothing. In fact, France showed its appreciation for their mutual cooperation in 1963 by making Alvin J. Walker a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur. It was an international win-grin.
The Christian Dior exhibition is scheduled to run through the 18th of March 2018. Don’t miss it.
Because, as the late, great designer Dior himself once put it, “In this machine age, which esteems convention and uniformity, fashion is the ultimate refuge of the human, the personal, and the inimitable. Even the most outrageous innovations should be welcomed, if only because they shield us against the shabby and the humdrum!”
I completely agree. And the more outrageous, the better. So wear your heart on both puffy sleeves. #Beextra #Bekindtoo
Now, let’s take a gander at a few of my favorites among the fancy dresses.
(I dedicate this post to my two Toronto WordPress friends, Virginia and Alexander.)