”Le Petit Théâtre Dior” travelling exhibition opens in Chengdu

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“I thought that, to explain the reasoning behind it, this house should be – in a time when everything is tending to the machine – more like an artisanal laboratory than the ideal of a factory,” Christian Dior admitted in his memoirs. Even before founding his own House, the couturier recognized that the noble professions exercised by the artisans were inseparable from the haute couture. Even if they were only a third the size of the original model, each miniature dress in the Petit Théâtre Dior is also produced based on a cotton toile in the purest haute couture tradition and necessitates the same precision and rigor as its big sister. In the ateliers time seems to have stood still: the embroidery is done by hand, as in the 18th century, and the silk flowers are born between the fingers of an artisan with quasi-botanic exactitude. On the original Miss Dior dress designed in 1949 or on its miniature version, produced specially for the exhibition, bouquets of rose, jasmine and lilac burst into bloom. In order to arrive at such a result, the petite main perpetuates a legacy that has remained intact; the fabric petals are cut out by hand with a punch tool and the embossing is done with a period tool that ensures both perfection and astonishing realism. Fixed around a brass stalk, the petals become a flower as they’re worked by expert hands with a fairy-light touch. The details might be miniature but the savoir-faire remains grandiose, as evidenced by the spectacular dress Mexique from the fall-winter 1951-1952 collection in brown tulle embroidered with gold sequins and beads highlighted by a dark brown velvet ribbon on the bust.

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