Yes! Yes, yes, yes. In what was the most anticipated show of the season, Dior’s new designer Maria Grazia Chiuri wowed. The name Dior is synonymous with the words, ‘New Look’. While it refers to a cinch-and-flare silhouette that revolutionized (remember that word, too) how women dress, today it was apt as Grazia Chiuri showed her very first collection for the house. It was also the first time a woman has been creative director at the storied 60-year-old house. And the collection spoke to the idea of women in power in both straightforward and sartorial ways.
Grazia Chiuri started with a series of all-white blouses, jackets, bibs and high-waisted clamdiggers—the pants were tailored and the jackets and bibs referenced the quilting of fencing vests. There was also a hint of “breaking free” in some looks — one shirt with extra-long sleeves and worn under a strappy bib was reminiscent of a woman broken loose from a straight jacket. It was subtle. Elsewhere, feminine ideals were subverted, best seen in all the sheer tulle skirts worn with knee-high boxer boots, the leather moto jackets and pants, sporty slides mixed in with pointy-toed kitten heels.
This was as empowering as it was wearable. A big message was quotes from feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who was there. “We should all be feminists” crossed one white t-shirt tucked into a sheer blue ballgown skirt detailed with delicate crystal critters and worn with sneakers. Elsewhere, t-shirts read “Dio(r)evolution.” But confidence also comes from how a woman feels and looks in her clothes. If it doesn’t fit, you’re going to be miserable, right? Grazia Chiuri knows how to make clothes, her tailoring shown off in trim overcoats, blazers and jackets, swingy tent dresses and tons of great pants. “Christian Dior” was printed along waistbands and bra straps, and the logo showed up loud and proud on roomy day bags.
Confidence, sexiness, sweetness, humour, softness, fight—these are all part and parcel of being a modern woman. Designers like Miuccia Prada have so smartly tapped into that understanding, and it’s clear that Grazia Chiuri is clued in, too. Her evening wear included polkadot tulle ballet gowns, filmy dresses and thin knits all embroidered with leaves, hearts, hands lobsters, bats, smiling suns —very Schiaparelli, another ballsy designer at the head of her own brand and the fashion pack.
From a design perspective, Grazia Chiuri understands brand preservation, having carried on the beloved Valentino ethos for years with her partner Pier Paolo Piccioli. As it will be for Piccioli at Valentino, this is the first time since the late 80s that Grazia Chiuri and Piccioli will not be designing together — they worked hand-in-hand at Fendi and for 17 years at Valentino. Maybe all the girl power messaging—including a series of social media interviews asking Dior’s in-house team about female role models—was Grazia Chiuri’s message to herself. That she can do it on her own. After all, this is the woman who had a hand in such run-away hits as Valentino’s Rockstud shoes and Fendi’s baguettes. And by the looks of it, she’s going to usher in a new day at Dior.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US