Glove Story of the Week - Dents & Dior | The Fashion Museum

Glove Story of the Week - Dents & Dior

Welcome to Week Three of our new series showcasing the world-class Glove Collection of the Worshipful Company of the Glovers of London, cared for and housed here in Bath at the Fashion Museum.

22 February 2019

This week we are celebrating the amazing new blockbuster fashion exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams with this gorgeous pair of pale pink kid leather gloves by Dents for Christian Dior. Dating from around the 1950s, the gloves feature a stunning single flower design on the inner edge of the back of each hand, beautifully crafted from pink padded leather, pink sequins and pink silk thread.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams traces the history and impact of one of the twentieth century’s most influential couture houses, exploring the work of its six creative directors from 1947 to the present day. The exhibition features over 500 pieces drawn from the fashion house’s archives in Paris, the V&A’s extensive Dior collection, and star looks on loan from other museums including the Fashion Museum Bath and the Museum of London. A British twist has been added to the exhibition, which originally started life in 2017 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, with a major new section looking at Dior’s relationship with Britain, and a focus for the first time on his work with English manufacturers such as Dents gloves and Rayne shoes.
"There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking." - Christian Dior

©Adrien Dirand

©Adrien Dirand

Christian Dior was a confirmed Anglophile and as a couturier, he was delighted to dress English debutantes and the young Princess Margaret. Following his first British fashion show at London’s Savoy Hotel in 1950, Dior began showing his collection in grand country houses such as Blenheim Palace, raising money for charity and attracting great publicity for his latest designs. In 1952 Dior established C.D. Models. The London business provided ready-to-wear versions of his haute couture garments through exclusive department stores such as Harrods and Kendal Milne in Manchester. Renamed Christian Dior London Ltd in 1954, the company established licensing deals with numerous British manufacturers such as Symington’s corsets and Dents gloves.

Not much is known about this arrangement between British glove manufacturer Dents and the House of Christian Dior to produce super stylish gloves together, however a hand-written note relating to this partnership has recently come to light in the archive collections of Dents, now based just 15 miles away from the Fashion Museum in Warminster, Wiltshire. It reveals that Christian Dior approached Dents in 1955 to make gloves for them in exclusive Dior designs and to very high standards for sale in the UK and Commonwealth countries. The agreement being that gloves bearing the Dior and Dents names would be on sale the following autumn in stores selected by Christian Dior. The note goes on to say that this arrangement was a great prestigious boost and gave publicity for Dents, but any profitability was very doubtful owing to the unknowns of difficult design and restrictions of ‘mark-up’.

Dents have a fabulous museum and archive collection containing several examples of gloves made by the company for Christian Dior in the 1950s and 1960s. These include an elegant wrist length pair in black sueded leather with a single row of delicate clear beads from about 1956, which can currently be seen on display in the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A until 14 July 2019.

We would love to find out more about the relationship between Dents and Christian Dior so please do get in touch at [email protected] with any memories and photographs – it would be brilliant to hear from you.

Our new display Glove Stories is on display from 2 March 2019 to 1 March 2020. To celebrate we are highlighting one fabulous pair of gloves from this wonderful collection every week.

Glove images courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London.