Dior @ V&A: simple ‘toile’ says it all

christian dior ‘toile’ mock-up for couture gown

Rather than recreate with photography the sensory thrill of touring “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” the massive, immersive exhibition celebrating the history of the House of Dior at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, I’ll evoke the experience by sharing a ghostly echo of one of his dresses.

That would be a ‘toile,’ or designer’s linen mock-up, seen above. The toile, of course, is an engineer’s test run prior to committing exquisite taffeta, chiffon, silks and other divine textiles, to construct the real deal.

Bereft of color in the hundreds of gowns on display — eerie aquamarines, pinks so pale they nearly waft away, blues straight out of an English garden, and did you know there are infinite shades of white? — this toile lets you focus on Maitre’s core skill. He sculpted with fabric.

Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams | Victoria & Albert Museum | thru Sept 1

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