With Milan Fashion Week over, it's onto Paris to see some of our favourite fashion houses' spring/summer 24 collections - and we can't think of a better way to start than with the iconic Dior. Here's everything Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri had in store for us.
The décor set the tone
A change from last season's undulating artscape, stark neon yellow and pink stripes running along digital screens greeted guests as they entered the custom-built venue at the Tuileries. The monumental, immersive NOT HER art piece, by Elena Bellantoni, was there to "perpetuate this refusal of all the clichés that confine women to predefined categories".
The video installation included a succession of female figures (including the artist herself) reworked by Elena Bellantoni, in a pop spirit, using imagery from sexist adverts and phrases that responded to stereotypes, including 'I am not only a mother, wife, daughter. I am a woman' and 'I don't belong to anyone else: I always make a phone call to myself'.
The colours weren't just a stark contrast to the collection itself, which featured not a drop of colour. They were there to send a message across. Literally. Screens showcase the message: 'Fuschia and yellow is not marshmallow, it's my way to highlight was is wrong and what is right'.
The rebellious woman
With her SS24 collection, Maria Grazia Chiui continues to explore the relationship between femininity and feminism. The message is clear: fashion is here to help women realize their worth and express their differences. It is here to help her break free from her shackles.
She took inspiration from all the original rebels who asserted their independence in a patriarchal society. These include witches, not as they have been negatively defined by men, but as the custodians of the knowledge of mother Earth.
There is a medieval sense to the collection, thanks to the architectural silhouettes and fabrics used. Tears, lacerations and combustions become the focus of the garments. A light metallic sweater alludes to chainmail. The colours, ranging from nude to black, are inspired by the phases of the moon, medicinal herbs and fantastical animals. Rich embroideries allude to lavish medieval gowns, while Dior's emblematic mille-fleurs motif is given a dark twist with a contrasting floral x-ray.
The witch has broken free from her shackles and this is what she's wearing today. She wears sheer slip dresses that look like she's ripped them to shreds. She wears deconstructed white shirts that slip off one shoulder. Pleated skirts that are sheer and far from prim. She wears leather biker jackets and choker necklaces. She is a rebel, and an elegant one at that.
The new wardrobe essentials
The Dior SS24 has just redefined our wardrobe essentials. We want the beige trench coat, with its silhouette a fresh take on the New Look. We want the deconstructed white shirt that slips off the shoulder, the prim cardigan that is cut in half. We want the leather biker jacket with sleeves emblazoned with stars. We want the oversized blazer and masculine white shirt. And we also want that pencil skirt with an X-ray of the Eiffel Tower on it.
The It shoes
The It shoe for SS24 is a warrior's shoe. It is part Mary Jane, part gladiator sandal. It has a pointed toe and a kitten heel. It creeps up the leg with a multitude of straps adorned with elegant gold buttons. It is going to be everywhere next spring and you heard it here first.
The arrivals red carpet was a veritable who's who, with fashion, movie and music worlds colliding. Celebrities and Dior ambassadors of note included model Elle McPherson, Charlize Theron, South Korean singer and actress Jisoo, Wednesday star Jenna Ortega, as well as Robert Pattinson and ya-Taylor Joy.
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.
- Sunil MakanEditor
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