Nestled in the rather lovely Platt Fields Park, and very agreeably a five minute walk from my house, is The Gallery of Costume.
Entirely funded by the City Council it has, in recent years, been refurbished and updated to include a changing exhibitions gallery, all housed in the magnificent Georgian Grade II listed building. It’s free entry and open daily.
The current exhibition is “Christian Dior: Designer in Focus”
There are a range of dresses on display from day wear, evening to cocktail wear and a bevy of information accompanying each piece. It is one thing to read about Dior’s new Look and to peruse photos of these beautiful garments, but it is quite another to see them in front of you.
Below I have included some of my favourites from the exhibition, ad I have only included the downstairs portion, if you want to see more you have visit them, and you should! The exhibition is on until Sunday 12th January.
Evening Dress, 1956
This beautiful taffeta floral evening dress was designed by the young Yves Saint Laurent and sold in the Dior Paris Boutique shop.
Day Dress, 1948
From the second major collection after New Look, this tier skirted day dress is a stunning example of Dior’s early couture styling.
Day Dress, 1949
My favourite piece on display, this dress was commissioned by Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. The photo really doesn’t do it justice though, she must have cut quite the figure in this, worth absconding for I reckon!
Cocktail Dress & Jacket, 1956
Peach silk, printed with a chinese design in black and them embroidered, the intricate detail of this stunning dress and jacket quite simply takes your breath away.
There are other treasures in the exhibition, hand drawn designs from the sketchbook of Dior himself no less:
There is a second floor exhibition room complete with other stunning Dior creations and even in the permanent exhibition space, in the 1950s cabinet I noticed some Dior pieces out on display; a grey silk couture dress and jacket from YSL’s first collection at Dior in 1958 and a yellow silk cocktail dress from 1959. Both after CD’s untimely death in 1957 but both striking nonetheless.
The permanent exhibitions are well worth a look, there are some beautiful pieces in there along with this touching sculpture by Susie McMurray named “Widow”; 100,000 sliver pins representing her grief.
And on that poignant note Tim did this…
Then we both did this….
And then this…
Then we left and strolled round the park and ate an ice cream, whilst watching the Canadian geese, ducks and swan signets stick their bums in the air while they fished.