Christian Dior – the creator of dreams.

Day 4 was grey and rainy as only Paris can be, maybe not as bleak as London but still chilly. We were not worried as this was the day for the Christian Dior Exhibition at the Musee des Decoratif, in the Louvre complex. The exhibition marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the House of Dior in 1947.

We approached our nearest Starbucks which is opposite the museum entrance only to witness a queue stretching at least 1km and growing by the second. This was a good 90 minutes before opening!

But, not to worry, the ‘coupe file’ ticket had come inot its own again. After a quick coffee, we went to a specia line, only about 50 metres long, huddled from the rain for 30 minutes and in we went….. into wonderland.

A live display of the seamster’s art.

Exhibitions in the 2000s are not passive affairs.

We were transported into the studios and workshops of one of the world’s largest Haute Cuture names, with all the glitz and glamour.

Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress.

Miniatures!

Rooms led into each other. We started with the jewellery, magnificently displayed in LED light cases in darkened rooms; then on to the Haute Couture showpieces. Very clever, as showing creations worn by famous people using filter screens which washed from a waxwork of the person into the actual dress. Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday Dior dress was one such an exhibit.

More miniatures

Then, much to Madame’s delight – on her birthday no less! – Christian Dior had decided early in the 1950s to make exact miniatures of each of his pieces for showcasing around the world. He was one of the global trade pioneers.

We moved through the decades; then on to the millinery; accessories and the fragrances. Dior was a keen gardener and pal of Monet so many displays were veritable gardens as he drew inspiration from the nature he loved so much.

The penultimate room featured the Dior designers who followed Dior after his sudden death in 1957.

Garden inspiration.

Movie wonderland.

Then a walk across a passage down some spectaculr stairs and into a facade of the Dior main office on the Avenue de Montaigne in Paris and the celebrity room! With coloured lights creating an Oscar atmosphere, we viewed dresses worn by therich and famous from royal weddings to Oscars award nights, all on the appropriate waxwork models. Wow! What a climax.

It was hard to upstage this exhibition but another Starbucks fortifies one for an assault on the shopping mecca of Boulevard Haussmann. Between Christmas and New Year is when some of the sales start in France, but also the time when Far Eastern shopping tours happen by the hundreds from Bejing, Shanghai and other exotic climes. People, people, people, The Boulevard was eventually closed by the police due to the weight of people; Galeries Lafayette was letting people in five at a time and the queue at Uniqluo stretched around the block. What an experience and a very happy one.

Boulevard Haussmann under siege.

Crowds and more crowds as the police struggle to cope.

Christmas under the cupola in Galeries Lafyette

There was no shopping just looking and then we headed across town to west of the Champs Elysses and before the right bank of the Seine, aptly called the Golden Triangle. We had been recommended to go to Chex Andre for the birthday dinner.

Chez Andre is another of the traditional Parisian brasseries but has been gentrified.

However, not gentrified to the extent that it has escaped the clutches of the mass tour groups with their loud voices and mass food servings. Added to this was a very cantankerous restaurant manager who argued loudly with the waitresses, food was slopped on to the floor and not cleaned up, and card machines which allegedly did not work in order to try and get the patrons to pay cash, but then did work when you refusedto pay in notes. Having said all that, the food was fine and we were able to sign off on an incredible day.

A quick glance at the Health App – 12km/17,900 steps. Not bad for two oldies.

 

 

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