Surrealism with a feminist twist chez Dior
Ever since she arrived as artistic director of Christian Dior Maria Grazia Chiuri has mounted a feminist fashion campaign. This season for couture she gave it a feminist twist.
All the way from the setting to the makeup to the collection, the event was a homage to Leonor Fini, an Argentine surrealist who achieved fame in the 30s, moved back and forth between Rome and Paris, where she held her first exhibition in Monsieur Christian Dior’s own gallery.
One had to love delightful combinations of man’s waistcoat and tulle skirt; truly beautiful guipure tunics and gray lace evening dresses created with black eyes.
After just two years in the Paris institution that is Dior, Roman-born Chiuri also clearly knows how to drive her atelier: her boar's head embroidered evening gowns were truly dramatic. And a tulle column finished in silver sequins done like an exact replica of a woman’s torso would have had drawn a standing ovation from Man Ray.
And for professional ladies there was oodles of great tailoring – reimagined bar jackets done like mannish tuxedos. For naughtier movements a half dozen semi-transparent looks, artfully composed meshes of fabric.
Adding to the allure, most models wore dramatic masks, in black tulle of gold metal; their earrings often all-seeing eyes. Around their necks faux tattoos reading with lots of arty terms.
“Leonor Fini was the incarnation of the then-revolutionary idea that one must always remain independent and reinvent oneself as a representation of all possible realities,” wrote Chiuri in the program – best expressing her own clear concept of the collection.
Reinvention was the leitmotif of her front row: packed with supermodels and major league actresses: catwalk stars Erin O’Connor, Natalia Vodianova, Arizona Muse; screen goddesses Gemma Arterton, Emily Blunt and Clotilde Courau. Testifying to Dior’s ever powerful pulling power.
“Marvelous!” enthused Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH, which owns Dior, after he led the crowd into the backstage of this retro-surrealist reverie.
From the giant plaster ears, arms, noses and limbs that hung from the ceiling of the show-space built in the garden of the Rodin Museum to the faux ecru curtain walls, one felt transported back to the 1930s. Which was part of the one weakness of this collection. The clothes all looked pretty swell, even frequently rather beautiful. But there was a sense of fashion time travel – back into history – rather than forward into the future.
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