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Princess Margaret's 21st birthday dress among star-studded frocks in UK's largest Dior exhibition

The dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday party is among those being shown in a new exhibition bringing together the UK's largest display of items designed by Christian Dior.

The collection at London's V&A Museum features handmade gowns worn by the likes of Rihanna, Natalie Portman and Emma Watson.

A Dior gown worn by Rihanna joins pieces worn by some of the world's most influential figures. Credit: AP

Christian Dior was one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, redefining women's image in the post-war era.

The V&A collection is a catalogue of his life; starting from childhood, through his early career working in an art gallery, right up to his death in 1957.

Christian Dior and Princess Margaret in 1954. Credit: PA

It features his classic Bar Suit, the look that launched his initial collection in 1947, reinterpreting the female figure in a post-war era of rationing and austerity.

The designer's work is remembered through a further 10 years of his pieces, followed by creations of the six artistic directors who succeeded him in running the couture house.

The dress worn my actress Natalie Portman to Hollywood's AFI Fest is included in the display. Credit: AP

Speaking to ITV News from the exhibition, former editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman said: "Christian Dior was a real visionary. He wasn't there for very long, that's what people forget, he had the house 10 years.

"But he completely got what you could do with the combination of haute couture, designing extraordinary, extravagant clothes for the few - and how you then could make a business out of that."

She added: "I think Dior has been probably the most important or certainly second most important fashion brand, certainly over the last 50 years.

"As a magazine editor, it's been quite easy to keep the story of Dior going. It's never got stale."

The gown worn by Lupita Nyong'o to Cannes 2018. Credit: AP