In 2017, to coincide with the NGV’s House of Dior: Seventy years of Haute Couture, two new couture works were commissioned for the fashion and textiles collection with funds donated by the David Richards Bequest and the F&T Supporters Group.

Essence d’Herbier was commissioned by the NGV after Katie Somerville, Senior Curator Fashion and Textiles attended Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Dior Couture show in Paris in January 2017. In July 2016, Chiuri became the seventh designer and first female artistic Director at Christian Dior and her couture debut coincided with the 70th anniversary of the house.

As part of the acquisition process, documentary photography and film footage was taken in order to reveal some of the specialist techniques, tools and production methods specific to the making of couture garments and to give a behind-the-scenes-glimpse into the Dior ateliers.