Dior’s new ‘New Look’ makes a strong case for feminism
Following Anthony Vaccarello’s YSL SS17 unveiling earlier this week, another epic debut has taken place at Paris Fashion Week.
Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut for Dior on Friday marked the first time in the French maison’s 70-year history that a woman has taken the helm. Succeeding some of the most iconic fashion designers ever – including John Galliano, Marc Bohan, Raf Simons and Gianfranco Ferre – the Italian designer fully embraced the feminist significance of her new role.
Swapping the romantic floral sets favoured by Raf Simons for a more minimalistic backdrop, Chiuri staged her spring/summer 2017 show in the gardens of the Musée Rodin which she decked out with wooden benches and a matching wooden runway.
In her 17 years at Valentino, where she co-designed with Pierpaolo Piccioli, Chiuri was renowned for her appreciation for popular culture and her ability to create correspondingly viral fashion (this is, after all, the designer who began her career at Fendi where she was part of the team that created the legendary ‘baguette’ bag). It was Chiuri who enlisted actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson to stage a live catwalk rendering of their Zoolander characters during the AW15 show; a hilarious moment that offered a rare reminder that irreverence can and does exist in the fashion industry.
And, it was Chiuri who co-designed the incredibly popular ‘Rockstud’ collection – the stilettos of which have become an Instagram success story with an unprecedented 386,516 tags and counting.
With just six weeks to create her first Dior collection, here’s 5 things you need to know about the show…
The Model Casting
Buzz-cut poster girl and British model Ruth Bell stomped out first, setting the tone for a show that championed feminism. A face synonymous with the anti-pretty punk aesthetic, Bell was ready for action in a female fencer uniform of cropped white trousers, a quilted vest and trainers.
The Front Row
Dior campaign girls, Rihanna (a freshly ordained Paris Fashion Week designer herself) and Jennifer Lawrence propped up the front row, already dressed in the label’s new look. While RiRi wore a chic bee embellished cocktail dress, Jennifer went for a decidedly more casual Friday look, pairing drop crotch boyfriend jeans with a black t-shirt with white ‘Christian Dior J’Adore’ bra straps and black pumps with the same logo printed on the straps.
Kate and Lottie Moss, Karlie Kloss, Bianca Jagger, Olivia Palermo, Diane Kruger, Natalie Portman, Natalia Vodianova, Marion Cotillard and Milla Jovovich were also perched alongside Chiuri’s fellow designers Alber Elbaz, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Giambattista Valli, who were there to cheer on their friend and colleague.
The New ‘New Look’
From overt femininity to outspoken feminism, the clothes sang of a ‘DIO(R)EVOLUTION’, quite literally through logo-ed t-shirts and a decidedly more casual aesthetic. The Renaissance-esque princess gowns and iconic bar jacket that Dior is known for were replaced by tulle tarot-card-inspired evening dresses with sporty bra straps and waist bands emblazoned with ‘J’Adore Dior’ and ‘Christian Dior’, to which Rihanna was no doubt nodding her head in approval.
One t-shirt in particular, that has already become a key talking point of the show, bears the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, We should all be feminists, making Chiuri’s message even louder and clearer.
Cool aviator-style sunglass and raw hem white denim jeans also heralded a new direction for Dior. Meanwhile, the logo theme ran right through to the shoes, where printed ribbons were delicately knotted to form the straps for sling-back kitten heels. The bags also featured logos in the form of bold gold lettering along the clasps. The Dior Homme honeybee motif popped up on shirts, the back-pockets of jeans. and printed in gold on handbags. The jewellery was made up of punky chain mail bracelets, DIOR knuckledusters and tiny black ribbon chokers.
The make-up brief must have called for little to none at all, and the models hair was swept up into skater-girl topknots with tiny braids running up the backs of their heads.
Chiuri’s ex-partner Piccioli will show his much-anticipated first solo collection for Valentino on Sunday. All eyes remain on Paris Fashion Week…