People queue four hours at Paris exhibition on Christian Dior

Dresses on display at the Dior exhibition that celebrates the seventieth anniversary of the Christian Dior fashion house at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.
Dresses on display at the Dior exhibition that celebrates the seventieth anniversary of the Christian Dior fashion house at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - More than 700,000 people flocked to a record-breaking Paris exhibition dedicated to the Christian Dior French fashion house, its organisers said on Monday.

The six-month-long show, which ended on Sunday, was the most popular ever held at the city's Museum of Decorative Arts, with visitors queuing for an average of four hours to see some of the luxury brand's most iconic designs.

"Christian Dior, couturier du reve" (roughly translated as "Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams") was organised to mark the label's 70th anniversary.

It told the story of the brand through some 300 of its haute couture dresses worn by stars from Marlene Dietrich to Rihanna.

The museum's director David Cameo said the turnout was "an absolute record" - the highest for a single show in its 112-year history.

It also attracted a string of Hollywood stars and top models - who were spared the queues - including Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Pattinson and Bella Hadid, some of whom are ambassadors for the brand.

But not everyone was happy with the show. The French magazine Marianne lambasted the venerable institution, which is next to the Louvre museum, for selling out.

Writer Agnes Poirier accused the museum of becoming a "shop window for commercial brands... under the cover of art" and also criticised its earlier link-up with toymaker Mattel for another hugely popular show on the Barbie doll.

However, Mr Cameo said the huge attendance had been a financial boon for the museum, helping it to notch up a large surplus that would "help us re-equip and pay for an overhaul of our restoration studios".

It is hoping to follow up its success with Dior with another fashion-themed show in March, tracing the enigmatic Belgian-born designer Martin Margiela's years at Hermes.

Despite breaking records, the Dior show was far from being the most popular Paris art show of 2017. That title is held by the Icons Of Modern Art exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which drew 1.2 million people.

It featured the cream of a collection of 250 paintings put together by collector Sergei Shchukin before the Bolshevik Revolution, which had never before been seen outside Russia.