Maria Grazia Chiuri focused her design prowess on two things for the Spring 2018 RTW collection – continuing the feminist discussion, and move over Gen-Xers, it’s all about the Millennials. Thus we witnessed a collection that was anywhere but the frothy ethereal or elegantly tailored creations of a a high fashion house we were used to seeing from both Dior and Chiuri. In fact, blink and you may miss any subtle whisper or nod to a house code.
Chiuri’s starting point was with feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, whose 1971 essay ”Why have there not been great women artists?” is a reflection point for the designer. While Georgia O’Keefe was given homage in the Cruise collection, the answer to the essay question for this season now lies with the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who was a modern French-American sculptor, painter, and filmmaker, 1930 – 2002. Perhaps the most anti-current fashion industry standards that you could possibly get, de Saint Phalle’s works were monumental outdoor sculptures of vibrantly colorful and curvaceous female figures – a protest against patriarchy and rigidity. Interestingly, de Saint Phalle once modeled for the house of Dior when Marc Bohan was at the helm in the early 1960s. I would love to have been able to talk with her about this development of dichotomy in her life.
The translating looks were aged down and dressed down for the Dior house in an array of vintage style patchwork denim over block heels, leather jumpsuits and jackets, and cut away dresses.
But oh, the frothy sheer was still there…just different. The color palette was more 90’s American grunge meets French bohemian in black, red and indigo, heavy on the striping.
There was decidedly less major moments of potential for evening or red carpet, and more flirtatious and fresh minis, cute character appliqués, and sparkly paillettes. Attitude meets pretty. But the attention to detail is still there – taking the D&G more is more approach, but making sure to still make the details perfection. That’s the key, and I think Chiuri and the Dior house nailed it.
You could see some direct references of de Saint Phalle’s works painted across high waist fringed leather shorts, emblazoned in sequins on a gold mini dress, or crocheted into a sweater.
But the finale! Dior debuted rainbow glitter gowns and that made. the. show. It’s one thing to see the photos, but you have to see these things move in the light. Love!