„Christian Dior and the icons of Parisian fashion from the collection of Adam Leja”

Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, building D, III floor
Opening of the exhibition: April 26th 2018, Thursday, 6 p.m., admission is free
On view until 26th of August 2018

The New Look – revolution that changed fashion and culture, brought back the name of the fashion capital to Paris reviving after World War II. After years of war trauma, constant restrictions and gray reality, the quality offered by Christian Dior opened the door to new extravagant elegance. In the realities of the post-war crisis, Dior bravely manifested the return to sensual femininity, created a new model of the perfect figure with a narrow waist and emphasized bust and hips. A model that became a timeless. He proposed costumes that strongly emphasized the silhouette, full of charm, from a large amount of classy and expensive materials. During the first Dior’s show Carmel Snow, the contemporary editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar, said enthusiastic words: "It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!". New look became a slogan of a new era.

Central Museum of Textile in Łódź has a great opportunity to recall the achievements of Christian Dior, as well as post-war Parisian 'haute couture' masters, thanks to courtesy of the Polish collector and expert, Adam Leja, the owner of over five thousand objects from the history of fashion. 

The exhibition will consist of two parts. The first one will be devoted only to creations from the Dior fashion house. There will be presented not only original costumes but also accessories - hats, shoes, as well as jewelry. It will be a journey throughout the history of this fashion house, showing how Dior interpreted in his attire the tendencies appearing in the constantly changing reality of the following decades.

The wider context of the presentation will be provided by the second part of the exhibition. We will present the most important post-war trends of world tailoring in the interpretation of leading Parisian designers. We will show the 'haute couture' creations of the largest Paris fashion houses, such as: Jacques Heim, Nina Ricci, Jacques Griffe, Lola Prusac, Pierre Balmain, Jeanne Lanvin, Roger Vivier, Douillet Doucet, Jean Patou, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, Paco Rabanne, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, Jean Louis Scherrer, Ted Lapidus, Loris Azzaro, Philippe Venet, Olivier Guillemin, Franck Sorbier, Christophe Josse and many others. 

In attire of all these designers, social and cultural changes found their reflection and were an interesting voice in a multi-aspect discussion summarizing the realities of subsequent ages. All objects presented at the exhibition will be shown in Poland for the first time.
The whole Adam Leja’s collection is one of the most significant ones in Europe. Cooperation between the collector and the Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź allows to incorporate the Museum in the presentation of the world's most important fashion brands and designers’ names, and will introduce the Museum into the wider context of world cultural heritage, the fashion area of which is a significant part. 

Curator: Marta Kowalewska
Producer: Daria Jelińska
Arrangement of space: Maja Pawlikowska
Graphic design: POLKADOT
Photographic cooperation: Michał Radwański
Organizers: Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź and City of Lodz

Media Patronage: VOGUE, TVP Kultura,TOK FM
Museum partner: Monnari, Real Development, Viands, Jaszpol, Plastiflora


"Dream House"

Exhibition tells the story of the Herbsts, a family of prominent industrial tycoons living in Łódź. However, the history of the family is not explored in a traditional way based on facts and chronology but an attempt is made to penetrate into their privacy to capture the atmosphere and specific climate of the 1920s. Materials collected by the curators while browsing through the archives helped discover facts that seem to have been long forgotten and create the picture of the life of the Herbst family, as well as explore the social and cultural reality of Łódź at the beginning of the 20th century.

When visiting the exhibition one must bear in mind that it takes us back to the years immediately following World War I, to the age of drastic political and economic changes. At that time Łódź was suffering not only from huge losses and damage inflicted by the war on the textile industry but also from the closure of receptive Russian market in the aftermath of the October Revolution.

Dream House is exhibited in the original exhibition space created by interiors of the Herbst Palace, which for this particular occasion have been dressed up in a specific costume. Especially for the exhibition, rooms have been filled with clothes, bibelots and everyday objects that take us back in time. Simply by coming into such space, visitors take part in a specific imaginary game. Realistic images of interiors are mixed with a unique “comment” to the exhibition: an audio drama, a performance which lets the audience actually feel the zeitgeist of the 1920s. Actors’ performance transforms interiors of the palace creating the proper setting for imagination. 

The main characters in the “dream house” story are Alexandra and Leon Herbst, who moved into the palace in Księży Młyn [Priest’s Mill] right in the 1920s. Leon (1880–1942), son of Mathilda and Edward Herbst, worked in family business called K. Scheibler - L. Grohman United Cotton Factories occupying the highest positions in the factory Board. In 1918 in Moscow he married Alexandra (1889–1971). They were often visited by Mathilda Herbst (1856–1939), nee Scheibler, the widow of Edward (1844–1921). In the 1920s she would spend most of her time in Sopot, in a villa owned by the family. Mathilda was passionately involved in charity work. She took special care of Anna Maria Hospital for Children in Łódź dedicated to the memory of her and Edward’s the only daughter.
The exhibition at the palace in Księży Młyn introduces visitors into the world that has already slightly disappeared into oblivion but the audio drama and a new interior design bring all the dramatis personae back to life in the house owned by Herbsts, in the Dream House.

The Museum invited Andrzej Bart, a novelist and a scriptwriter, to write an audio drama based on the scenario developed for the exhibition by its curators. Acoustic performance with the participation of outstanding Polish actors was recorded in the Polish Radio Theatre.

Curators: Dorota BerbelskaMagdalena Michalska-Szałacka

Exhibits presented at the Dream House exhibition come from Adam Leja collection, the  Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, the Zgierz Museum, The Castle Museum in Pszczyna, Maria Cybulska, the Sopot Museum, and from the collection of the Herbst Palace Museum.