You want inspiration? Why not look for the best? From my summer home visit in Paris, I brought back the best sewing tips from the magnificent Christian Dior exhibition currently running there. If those sparkling, shimmering dresses don’t cure you from the fall blues… nothing will!
Ok yes, I have been a little lazy at translating my french articles into english. If you ever want to polish your French, you can have a look at how to pick your sewing books here or how to get inspired by Lady Gaga’s outfits here.
For today, let’s travel to beautiful Paris and visit the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. One of my favorite museum back in my home town… I already told you about it for this exhibition by the way. It usually has the best exhibitions in the capital regarding fashion to be honest.
This Dior exhibition will go on until january I believe, so if you have plans to visit Paris, go ahead! If you don’t, here is how to sew you own Dior wardrobe…
Why you will be inspired by Dior
Dior sits up there with Chanel (even higher than her in my opinion) in this fashion hall of fame everybody slightly fashion sensitive has in mind. The “new look” is worldly famous and has that retro vibe everybody finds so irresistible (and French).
But how can it translate in today’s fashion? Is it only for sewing experts?
Rather than simply telling you about the exhibition, I will walk you through the inspiration you can draw from it and integrate into your fall wardrobe…
here we go!
Inspo for beginners
If you are still struggling with pillow cases (It’s ok too, everybody has to start somewhere before making master pieces) you can still start “Dioring up” your look.
You will not create an entire dress of course, those are awefuly technical to make. But here are the techniques you can start practicing right now!
The Dior knot
As you may have noticed, Dior products often include a particular knot, with a one side buckle. See below those embroidered versions? Easy right? They could ornate a dress, a bag or a hat and look very fancy.
Here is a demo video I took during the exhibition of how you create it:
- create a classical shoe lace knot
- pull completely on one of the buckle
- trim ribbon to your liking
I saw A LOT of charming embroidery items during the exhibition, as those adorable gloves below:
It brings a light and charming touches to otherwise simple attires…
Adopt the “Dior” colors
Of course Dior made dresses in every existing colors. Yet he frequently confessed being a fan of 3 particular colors: red, pink and grey.
“Rouge Dior” is a deep crimson red, without looking like Santa Claus. Big fan here.
See this for example, one of his earlier creation. Look how modern that pleat work is…
Second color is a blush, “millennial” pink, also very popular those days…
And finally, you have grey…
Inspo for Intermediate
If you already master basic sewing techniques, this is a good way to up your game big time!
Do proper mock ups
Well this is also an excuse to show you this breath taking room where they displayed many mock ups. This is a good reminder that master pieces generally take one try out (or several) before they looked so wonderful.
The Over sized Obi knot
I am crazy about this detail and desperately want to incorporate it into the next “fancy” dress I make. You see it in many dresses throughout the exhibition. I am addicted for good… The most beautiful examples are make with stiff fabrics that hold their shape well.
Hate the color but look at this neckline and pleating work…
Inspo for pros
Mixing old and new
I share with Monsieur Dior his passion for 18th century. And it shows in various dress in various reinvented ways. For example the “New Look” figure has tiny waist, and big hips, a reminiscent of the stays and panniers of ancien times. Far from the flowy lines of the 20ies and 30ies, the body is reshaped to create a “new silhouette” (hence the name).
Look at this skirt detail.
And then observe the sleeves of this Renaissance dress. Same impression of having the under garment “peeking through”.
The fabrics mix
Those dresses use the most delicate, hard to work with materials : silk, taffeta, velvet etc. Details and ornaments took hours to be created and IT SHOWS! Nothing is too beautifull for House Dior:
It’s almost the same dress Natalie Portman is wearing in the latest Miss Dior perfume ad.
“Dior j’adore” for you too?
I couldn’t stop from shouting in admiration during my visit. And yet I see a looot of those. This is really impressive work.
Funny thing is that Dior is very far from the “free woman” I like to be. For having asked my grand mothers how wearing such outfits felt, they both agreed on those being very inconfortable : your waist is crushed under a corset to appear thinner, fabric is stiff and skin tight… Here is an example of the “tailleur Bar”. Not really a Yoga pant option right…
And yet I am fascinated by those dresses. I badly want to recreate one of those quickly… What about you? Wanna try one of those ideas?
More details on the exhibition and on Dior can be found here.
Next time we will talk about my latest silk dress…