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Paris Fashion Week SS18

YSL lights up the Eiffel Tower & feminism on Dior runway

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 September, 2017, 12:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 September, 2017, 12:14am

Yves Saint Laurent:

Glittering lights sparkled all over the Eiffel Tower to gasps from the fashion crowd and an audience of public that had gathered along a wall - and then it began.

A stellar line up of the industry’s top models, including newcomer 16 year old Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, walked along the runway at the Trocadero fountains with Paris’s most famous icon as the backdrop.

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Antony Vaccharello, Saint Laurent’s creative director, pulled off his most impressive show and collection yet, with thigh skimming skirts, 80s power shoulders and a touch of XXX. Most of these womenswear looks were the “sex on legs” variety. Loose and lovely billowing sheer skirts and blouses, plumes of ostrich feathers bounced to perfect dramatic effect and to end, a sumptuous finale of black, white (and occasional red) sculptural gowns that used voluminous folds of fabric to create architecture around the body.

Christian Dior:

Earlier that day it was Maria Grazia Chiuri at Christian Dior making her fashion and feminism statement in the Musee Rodin. Each seat had a copy of Linda Nochlin’s 1971 feminist essay “Why have there been no great women artists?” -outlining female efforts to break from “the dominant male discourse” in art.

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The runway was a evolution from boyish daywear in shades of blue and indigo were worn with baker boy hats to a sparkling little strappy finale gowns embellished with a broken mirror effect. This was done via a winding, sometimes perplexing path, through moods taken from ex-Dior creative director Mark Bohan’s time: polka dots, stripes and mod-ish, swinging 60s style checkered outfits, then introducing Chiuri’s magical tarot motifs.

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The Italian designer also took on the colourful, almost naive work of American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, embellishing those cartoony motifs onto skirts and dresses. This might have been a spring summer 2018 collection, but Chiuri utilises contrasting fabrics to keep things fresh, combining hardcore leathers with light, floaty sheers. It’s quite remarkable to think of how quickly the Dior aesthetic has been turned around since Chiuri joined - she might reference things of the past, but these collections are firmly aimed at the young, hip Dior clients of the future.