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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Dior: Contemporary Antiquity Goddesses

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All about empowerment at Dior couture this season, where Maria Grazia Chiuri channeled goddesses, sacred rituals and animal forces in a powerful fashion statement held before a uniquely beautiful tapestry created exclusively for this show.

Dior Couture

A collection and tapestry that roamed around the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean, Anatolia, the Golden Crescent and even as far as India for inspiration.
 
While a mood board backstage featured images of statues of Ariadne, Artemis, Athena, Diotima, Apollo Citaredo, a dancing Maenad, an Iraqi female spirit with bird claw feet and a Roman princess carrying a saber, with her cloak thrown back. 

Like the multiple cloaks and capes seen in the collection, including the superb opening double-face ecru wool capes. And like the statues, the first 20 looks were in pale white or ecru.
 
Maria Grazia’s other big idea in terms of silhouette was the Roman toga, whose curving lines were suggested by off-shoulder ecru silk tulle dresses and gowns. Gradually introducing decoration – petal-like shirts, hand worked pleats and jewels and geometric motifs.
 
For evening, Chirui incorporated shimmering bodices and long dresses, in a riff of the sixties, and embellished long skirts and bouffant cotton blouses. Rather understated for couture, as was her footwear. A long series of flats and Roman sandals marching along the pine plank catwalk.
 
Designed by artist Marta Roberti, and hand sewn in the Chanakya atelier in Mumbai, the wall hanging and set was probably the most beautiful so far in Chiuri’s reign in Dior. With three walls of the custom-made Dior gray space made magical with back-lit imagery of divergent forms – Bronze Age Potnia Theron, Ishtar, Cybele, Durga in Hinduism, the Aztec goddess Coatlicue – all playing among a stunning bestiary.
 
Backed up by a romantic and dramatic soundtrack from Michel Gaubert, including Tears can be so soft by Christine and the Queens, this was a tremendous display by Dior. The most finely honed, and aesthetically coherent of all the great houses in fashion today.
 
Pre-show, in a conference with Italian editors, Maria Grazia reflected on the current unrest.

Dior Couture

“My time in Paris hasn’t always been easy. It began with the Bataclan, and now we have five days of violence. Nahel’s death was a terrible tragedy, and a lesson that we all have to open our minds and realize that something has to change,” commented the Italian couturier.
 
Her other great concern was that of increasing intolerance of different ideas and sexual preferences. “I find it shocking that they are now banning books in libraries in states like Florida. I have even seen images in public places saying, No Gays. I think it is sad and dangerous when something like this happens in America, which I regard as a shrine to democracy.”
 
Considering the recent tragic killing of the unarmed teenager Nahel Merzouk by highway police outside Paris and the ensuing conflagration in France, haute couture might seem a faintly irrelevant subject right now. Yet, its very ephemeral quality means it represents what is elegant and noble in France, an ideal of beauty in which so many unhappy French youths in disadvantaged communities would ideally like to participate. Which is why this collection – and its celebration of female emancipation – still felt very important. 
 
“It took me a long time to understand the importance of Dior for Paris and France. I don’t think any other fashion house means so much to a culture as Dior. Because Christian Dior’s designs created a new image of this country right after the terrible destruction of World War Two. Monsieur Dior was in effect the ambassador of France,” she concluded.
 
 
 

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