After more than two years in development, countless trips to Paris and an intense few months of preparations, The National Gallery of Victoria’s highly anticipated exhibition ‘The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture’ is now open.
Produced in close collaboration with the iconic Paris fashion house, this exhibition is a celebration of Dior’s 70th year, and showcases 140 garments (plus hats, jewels and accessories) designed by Christian Dior Couture, from between 1947 and today.
We were granted exclusive access earlier this month as the NGV team prepared for this very grand exhibition! Watch our short video, featuring NGV exhibition designer Peter King, to understand just a little of what goes on behind the scenes to bring a show of this scale to Melbourne.
Every NGV exhibition is brought to life using paint colour by Dulux. For this show, exhibition designer Peter King was keen to replicate the iconic ‘Dior Grey’, selecting a palette of various Dulux greys, including ‘Stepney’, ‘Silkwort’ and ‘Water Worn’. The result is an impossibly grand, elegant space, complete with moulded architectural details, sparkling chandeliers, and a functional staircase built from scratch within the gallery, which was inspired by Peter’s visit to the House of Dior in Paris.
‘The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture‘ is open to the public until November 7th, 2017.
I was lucky to be granted behind the scenes access as this historic exhibition was brought to life, and to chat with NGV exhibition designer Ingrid Rhule, for an insight into the design and use of colour for this show.
NGV and Dulux have a long standing partnership. Every big show, from The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, to Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei, David Hockney and now Van Gogh, is presented with a backdrop of rich Dulux colour.
Filming this video was a surreal experience. We found ourselves inside a vast, empty gallery, up close with the largest collection of Van Gogh artworks ever to travel to Australia. It was also truly mind boggling to gain an understanding of the logistics required to stage a show on this scale. Did you know every single painting travels with its own minder, who supervises every aspect of its journey until it is safely hanging on the wall?
As NGV exhibition designer Ingrid Rhule explains, for this show, a pared back colour palette was a key part of her design approach. Keen to complement rather than distract from the vivid colours in Van Gogh’s works, the resulting exhibition layout and design utilises a series of different tonal greys, one for each season.
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