A new book, Dior/Lindbergh, sees haute couture from the Parisian house’s archive photographed on the bustling streets of New York by the late image-maker Peter Lindbergh
In 1947, Christian Dior visited New York. His two days in the city were spent in “a continuous state of wonder,” the designer would recall in his memoirs. “The electric air kept me constantly on the go.”
This week, decades on, a new Taschen-published book, Dior/Lindbergh – photographed by Peter Lindbergh, the seminal fashion image-maker and longtime Dior collaborator who died this past September – seeks to capture this electric spirit with a series of photographs of Dior’s haute couture archive, spanning the house’s beginnings to the present day, amid the bustle of Times Square.
The book itself, which is divided into two cloth-bound volumes, marks Lindbergh’s final collaboration with Dior – and perhaps his most ambitious yet. Largely because of the scope: in 2018, over 80 items from seven decades of Dior’s history – usually stored away in the house’s temperature- and humidity-controlled archive on Paris’ Rue de Montaigne – travelled to the streets of Midtown Manhattan, where they were captured by the photographer on models including Karen Elson, Saskia de Brauw, Carolyn Murphy, Amber Valletta, and Sasha Pivovarova (each has a long and personal relationship with Lindbergh, and together have been previously deemed the “Lindbergh beauties”). Taken in Lindbergh’s stripped-back ‘verité’ style, his subjects weave among the city’s quotidian crowds in the priceless creations – “wake up, now you go for a hell of a day and let’s see what happens,” Lindbergh said at the time.
As such, the photographs give the clothing new energy: Alek Wek is captured amid the blur of traffic in a bar jacket from 1947, the year of its advent; Irina Shayk stands in the doorway of a shuttered storefront wearing a Gianfranco Ferré-designed haute couture gown (Autumn/Winter 1991); Selena Forrest, Felice Noordhof and Sara Grace Wallerstedt cross a Midtown intersection wearing a trio of fantastical looks by John Galliano from the late 1990s. More recent designs appear alongside: Freja Beha Erichsen wears a black couture gown by Raf Simons (Autumn/Winter 2012); while several pieces by Maria Grazia Chiuri, the house’s current creative director, also feature.
Alongside these never-before-seen images, the book will also feature several photographs from Lindbergh’s own archive, collating the many times he has shot Dior – whether for the house, in campaigns featuring actors Charlize Theron and Marion Cotillard, or for numerous publicatons the world over, among them American Vogue, Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Together, the comprehensive Dior/Lindbergh is testament to Lindbergh’s singular talent – and “a tribute”, as Taschen says, “to an electrifying partnership between two pillars of fashion”.
Dior/Lindbergh, published by Taschen, is out now.