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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Athletic antiquity couture in the Rodin Museum

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Let the games begin, Christian. As the house he founded dedicated its latest show to Olympians, just barely a month before the real games kick off in Paris.

Dior SS25 Couture – FNW

Olympian ladies and their struggle to participate among the world’s greatest athletes – since barely 2% of the athletes were women in the second modern Olympic Games in 1900 in Switzerland. There were none in the first four years before in Athens.
 
Their determination to play and win evoked in the latest impressive collaboration between Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and an important female artist – Faith Ringgold. For this season the tented catwalk set inside the garden of the Rodin Museum featured over 30 giant images of women in sporting action: baseball, skateboarding, basketball and track and field. Originally mosaics made for the LA subway, these were cloth reproductions created by the Chanakya School of Craft in India.

While the show’s main façade was an installation entitled Freedom Woman Now, incorporating red, black and green – the colors of the pan African flag.
 
It was almost as if Mara Grazia wanted to dress medal winners for a cocktail party or ball, there were so many visual references to Ancient Greece. And this fall winter 2024/25 collection’s key element was the peplum, the outer tunic or shawl worn by so many women in Antiquity.
 
Seen in a majestic series of opening looks – long dresses in ecru jersey embellished with gold motifs and scalloped braids. Or in the floor sweeping halter neck asymmetrical dresses, some punctuated by hematite-clawed jewels.  
 
Before suddenly changing gear with the first of a selection of splendid bodysuits. The first in black tulle and radzimir silk panels with matching coat – athletic couture at its best. Followed by a tulle bodysuit with interwoven chains and trims. Talk about wow factor warrior woman.

Dior SS25 Couture – FNW

 
“Haute couture is created on the body. On this singular space and veritable area of reflection, it stages a choreography that is unique each time,” explained the Italian couturier in her program notes.
 
A stylish team of cowl neck gowns followed where you half expected some of the cast to carry the Olympic flame. Much of the collection made in cotton jersey, not exactly a couture fabric, but ideal for this unusual statement.
 
All the action, driven on with a serial music soundtrack with cuts from the likes of Philip Glass, cunningly mixed by sound specialist Michel Gaubert.
 
All told a powerful, and unexpected fashion statement, that won heavy applause from the packed-out audience. Featuring a series of powerful women who had themselves overcome major odds to achieve their dreams. The likes of Jisoo, Deva Cassel, Rosamund Pike, Laetitia Casta, Venus Williams, Kelly Rutherford, Yseult, Golshifteh Farahni, Doja Cat and Jennifer Lopez, who entered amid a massive cloud of paparazzi.
 
Rising to applaud Maria Grazia as she took a leisurely bow at the finale before the sporting images of the late great Faith Ringgold.
 
Born in Harlem in 1930, Ringgold was the subject of retrospective in the Picasso Museum last year, leading to her dialogue with Chiuri. Though she would not live to see her moment of glory with haute couture, as she died this April at the age of 94.
 
This installation a fitting recollection to a remarkable woman and artist.
 
 

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