Christian Dior couture’s nouveau New Look
Talk about a homage to a founder of a house. A bold reinterpretation of the New Look of Christian Dior by the house’s current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, in a rarefied couture moment.
On the occasion of the opening of a massive exhibition on Monday night of Dior to celebrate his 70th anniversary, Chiuri referenced Monsieur Dior throughout this whole fall 2017 collection.
In town for the exhibition opening, Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Laetitia Casta, though no Marion Cotillard, whose advertising contract with Dior has been officially terminated. “Though, obviously, she remains a great friend of the house,” stressed CEO Sidney Toledano.
A tribute was clear from the opening dozen looks, all in variations of Dior’s much-loved dove gray. From coatdresses artfully pleated at the waist; to Prince of Wales flowing pants and cape; to a shearling jumpsuit – ideal for a grand dame in Russian winter; to immaculately cut anthracite herring bone frock coats. Hyper stylist looks for clever women on the move in the 21st century.
Staying in the gray zone, Chiuri sent out silk gazar ball gowns, in a savvy reference to Dior’s Autriche design of fall 1951. Indeed, almost half the passages referenced Dior shows from The New Look of February 1949 to his final show a decade later.
“From the beginning I always said I wanted to pay homage to all the couturiers who worked in this great house of Dior. But today, I was only thinking one – our founder, Monsieur Dior,” insisted Chiuri.
That said, this was perhaps too restrained a collection; much of it coming across more like luxury ready-to-wear than haute couture. Chiuri has clearly mastered the Dior atelier, and imparted her own dialectic for day; but she still just lacks a little magic at night – a key element in couture.
The show was staged in a beautifully imaginative garden, built below Napoleon’s mausoleum at the back of Les Invalides. Olive, fir and cypress trees along with immense bamboo cane planted into a series of gardens - savannah, seaside and Provencal, in a brilliant display by art director Pietro Ruffo. In which stood immense wooden skeleton statures of wild beasts – elephant, rhino and giraffe. Though a tight inner circle – where sat LVMH chairman and hence Dior owner Bernard Arnault - was off-limits to all editors, including an obviously dismayed Anna Wintour of American Vogue. We can think of other powerful men who don’t enjoy the proximity of journalists either. A pity that in this beautiful Garden of Eden there felt like two classes of guests.
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