Following its massive success in Paris back in 2017/2018, Christian Dior’s must-see exhibition has finally arrived in London at the The Victoria & Albert Museum , with some additional and never seen before pieces just for London! As soon as booking was possible, the tickets for the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams were sold out almost instantly – but then a glimmer of hope arrived last week when they announced an extension for another 7 weeks with more tickets, but again they were gone before you could even load up the booking website!
All this means there are
three two options for you to witness it:
1. Become a member.
2. Queue up and see if you can grab some of the tickets they release daily on first-come, first-served basis.
Steal someone’s ticket
If you go with option 2, you’ll be queuing early morning at the museum’s main entrance on Cromwell Road. To give you an idea: I got there at 08:15 on a Saturday and was the 26th in line. I cannot 100% guarantee if 08:15 is the best time to arrive, as there are a few things you have to factor in on a daily basis – the weather wasn’t too great so I can imagine less people were eager to head out, and earlier in the week they had released tickets for the extended dates, meaning it was probably a less crowded day.
Around 09:30 a staff member will appear and hand out ticket numbers to those queuing, then when the doors open at 10:00 you go inside and purchase the actual tickets (£22) for the available timeslots they have at the ticket desk. I saw on Twitter that during a random weekday they gave out 100+ tickets; on the Saturday I went there were 58 tickets and there were well over 100 people waiting many of whom were sadly left empty handed.
With your tickets finally in hand you can head to the Sainsbury Gallery, but make sure you go on time because soon be joining another queue. For your reference I waited for 50 minutes in that one. Once you’ve gone through the final ticket check downstairs the queuing hasn’t quite ended…if it’s busy, you may be waiting a bit more to see the dresses as it can get quite cramped in there…Welcome to the Christian Queueor.
What I Didn’t Like
Because it was crowded you never really got the chance to get immersed in the moment. You had to stop and wait for people, read and then move on as the next person was either panting at your neck, holding their phone in front of you or subtly nudging.
They didn’t make use of the amazing space of the actual V&A and instead crammed the exhibition in downstairs in the Sainsbury Gallery. It felt dusty and old fashioned at times, without much innovation. I can only compare it to this Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition I saw in Rotterdam which was imaginative and well presented with mannequins that had faces projected and who randomly started singing, this just felt a bit meh simple and reliant on the exhibits rather the space as a whole.
It’s relatively short and the exit came as a surprise. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me so I waited at the exit point for about 10 minutes and there were a lot ‘oh is this it?’ and then people leaving and some even heading back in.
What I Liked
Obviously seeing all the garments up close, it was also a bonus that most weren’t hidden behind glass boxes, so you see the details and craftsmanship that go into couture pieces. Getting a sneak peek of Dior’s sketches and fabric swatches.
I also liked that it wasn’t all chronological and instead broken down in themes that featured garments from all the different designers and how they added something to the fashion house but all kept the famous hourglass silhouettes at the forefront. Seeing the same shapes and styles come back time after time reminded you that every trend comes back, so make sure you keep that leopard skirt you bought for the next round!
The ball room, oh the ballroom! The big finale. I mean look at that last photo.
So was it worth the queuing? All in all yes … as it’s not often you get the chance to see such wondrous clothing up close and personal, so stick with in and enjoy.
The exhibition now closed, but it’s moving to Kunstmuseum in The Hague next year (10 October 2020 till 28 February 2021) which makes it a great excuse to head there for a city trip. You can buy tickets here.