Christian Dior Spring-Summer 2017 Ready to Wear collection was one of those everyone was eagerly looking forward to this season (in view of multiple talent reshuffles that have been occurring in the industry), as it marked the debut of the first ever woman appointed at the artistic helm of the iconic house – Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Along with faces of Dior: Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman and Rihanna, an extensive guest list included actresses Laetitia Casta, Diane Kruger, Gemma Arterton, Haley Bennett, models Karlie Kloss, Elena Perminova, Natalia Vodianova, sisters Kate and Lottie Moss, and bloggers Aimee Song, Olivia Palermo, Nicole Warne and Chiara Ferragni, who came to uncover what the new Dior has to offer.
As the stripped back style of the venue selected for the show suggested clean slate, signifying the new beginnings for Christian Dior and it’s new artistic director.
It also resembled the fencing field of play which will come into play – pardon the pun – when the models hit the runway.
Maria Grazia Chiuri is not the one to bend under the weight of the house’s almost 70 year history and traditions, she is a creative mind who transcends stereotypes and taps for inspiration from the least predictable of places. But just like the founder, Christian Dior himself, the designer is “placing the woman front and center, confounding expectations and questioning that which is taken for granted”. In pursuit of designing pieces that suit the modern women best, that reflect their current needs and influences, Maria Grazia Chiuri chooses fencing as a starting point for her experiments. It’s “the balance between thought and action, the harmony between mind and heart” that are crucial in the discipline, that inspire the spring line-up.
The opening look, pristine white – like a blank page, where Maria Grazia Chiuri is going to write history of her Dior, sets the pace of the show: white quilted embroidered cotton one-shouldered jacket with white cotton shirt and cropped white cotton pant.
Fencing uniform inspired pieces also include an elegant take on the mask – in collaboration with Stephen Jones interpreted as a chic visor hat.
Quilting continues to decorate the garments: as a focal detail of the tops and jackets, it expands to cover the leather biker jackets or is reduced to an accent on a black leather dress.
The play with the range of materials like simple cotton, casual denim and tough leather contrasting the delicate transparent tulle, silk chiffon and georgette; and their combinations showcased a complex nature of the subject at the core – a modern woman.
The white and ecru looks gradually morphed into the combinations with black to complete black ensembles.
Minimalist design and clean lines of black and navy dresses, playsuits, jackets and coats were a perfect example of immaculate cut and tailoring talent of Christian Dior.
The dominating monochrome scheme sees an influx of vibrant red with a long pleated tulle dress and a pairing of biker jacket with tulle skirt.
By embracing the streetwear influences, Dior might just be opening up to a whole new following: from slogan tees reading “We should all be feminists” and “Dio(R)evolution” to visible undergarment elastics adorned with brand-referencing puns like “J’adior”, Christian Dior is gaining that necessary refreshing contemporary edge which makes the house evolve.
The latest footwear line included both sportif knee-length boots, slides, bee decorated sneakers and classic kitten heels with a quirky sling-back twist.
Tough luxe jewellery and accessories feature Dior’s iconic imagery, that is again seen on the garment designs: bees (symbolising 18th century French royalty), stars (Christian Dior favourite design), four leaf clovers (a nod to Monsieur Dior’s superstitious nature) and brand’s initials – the integral elements of precious talismans from the recently released “Lucky Dior” line.
Above all, a single symbol that stood out and evolved throughout the runway show, that “expresses better than a thousand words ever could, the intensity and strength of emotions possessed by the women of today” – a heart. First as an embroidered mark on the chest of the fencing-inspired outfits, it’s beating; then, beautifully embellished, it’s bleeding on dresses.
Closing the presentation, nine exquisite tulle looks in soft nudes, grey and black splendidly embroidered with tarot cards motifs, showcased the distinguished level of craftsmanship that Dior is so famously known for.
May this tarot reading predict only the success in the future of the brand and it’s new creative director, as for the present – Spring Summer 2017 show was an outstanding introduction to the new era in Dior.
by Olga Permyakova
Photos: Courtesy of Christian Dior