Its first female designer and a great unveiling: 8 things you need to know about Dior’s new chapter

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2016, 2:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2016, 3:21pm

It’s been an uncertain few years at the French luxury house since John Galliano’s disgraced departure. Raf Simons quit last year just when it seemed he was getting comfortable. So when it was announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri (from Valentino’s then top design duo) was picked up as successor, the industry rejoiced. Anticipation for Chiuri’s first collection hit fever pitch today. And crowds of fans and fashionistas enveloped the narrow street leading into the Musee Rodin in Paris as celebrities, clients and editors alike shuffled into the venue to watch the biggest debut of fashion week.

1. Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman to helm the Christian Dior brand. She saw great success revitalising Valentino as co-creative director with Pier Paolo Piccioli before she was tapped for the big job at Dior. Coming from an accessories background, she had many years at Valentino before leading the brand, earning great admiration and respect for their vision, street sensibility and poetic couture detailing.

2. There was a bit of politics. Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ was a major part of the runway soundtrack as Chiuri made a statement with a “We should all be Feminists” white t-shirt, worn with a midnight blue tulle long skirt. The show notes explained that “feminist is a reoccurring word” for Chiuri.

3. The show opened stark, disciplined and rather masculine with padded, white fencing vests and jackets strapped over pristine white shirts embroidered with little CD logos, and white capri pants. Elegant sports chic.

4. There was less of the signature couture tailoring around the body for a Dior collection; something that some fans will miss. Chiuri instead opted for more silhouettes with long flowing skirts in tiered and tulle, chiffons and sheers. Light, feminine and with those models’ all wearing top buns, very balletic. “Contemporary, agile and Olympian” said the show notes.

5. Sporty elastic straps printed with ‘Christian Dior’ appeared on dresses, bras and knickers (almost a la Calvin Klein underwear). This was an incredibly young, street and sporty touch showing Chiuri’s grasp of the fashion Zeitgeist.

6. Colourations were very precise and ordered. Starting off with whites, blacks and a few bold reds, the looks soon got more varied and came in soft, feminine pastel blues, lilacs and nudes. It was a commercial strong palette.

7. Front row celebrities included Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Kate Moss, Karlie Kloss, Laetitia Casta, Diane Kruger and Dior campaign girl and Hollywood darling Jennifer Lawrence who was wearing a bra piece from the runway show.

8. It was all about showing the shoulders and décolletage, after the more tailored or sporty items had walked past, dresses were mostly sleeveless, barely there corset style, sheer and with thin straps. But it wasn’t gaudy or too sexy, this is house refreshed, this time with a strong, directional woman’s touch.