An homage to Monsieur Dior
by Giampietro Baudo - MFFashion
An homage to the spirit of Monsieur Christian Dior, 70 years after the foundation of his maison, took place at the center of a colossal financial operation that was the work of Bernard Arnault and LVMH. On a sun-kissed day in Paris, the maison of Dior celebrated its 70th anniversary with a day to remember. In the afternoon there was the couture show entrusted to the creative skill of Maria Grazia Chiuri, in the evening the opening of the exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, “Christian Dior, couturier du rêve”. A journey through the masterful pleats of the master of the new look and all the designers after him who have built the story of the fashion house, from Yves Saint-Laurent to Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano and Raf Simons, as well as Chiuri herself. The first eulogy appeared on the catwalk, or better still, in the shape of 66 looks that brought to life the open-aired paradise created for the occasion. With the dome of the Hotel National des Invalides as a backdrop and three dimensional animals created by Pietro Ruffo that popped out from amongst the bougainvillae, the palms and the great baobab trees. All under the fragments of a rooftop filled with frescoes of mythical animals and zodiac signs. “This season I did something that was the opposite of the first collection...This is study on the founder of the maison, the figure of Christian Dior and the archive of his first ten years designing.” Maria Grazia Chiuri explained backstage to MFF. “I’ve always said that I feel like the curator of an incredible history, and this season, together with the exhibition, I have gone deeper into the archives, getting to know the character of the Monsieur and his work.”
On the moodboard this season, a map created by the engraver Albert Decaris, part of a 1953 book that outlined the philosophy of the house, and the spirit of the couturier who often repeated, “A complete collection must speak to all types of women, from all countries.” Counterbalancing another fragment of the past, an Atlantic of emotions, “My journey through the archive was emotional, I started this incredible experience by allowing myself to be guided by the name of a dress, a shape or a photo. Not trying to reason with it too much, not trying to be too logical, just approaching it with lots of empathy.” This meant that each of the 66 looks contained a piece of the Dior universe: a fabric, a pleat, a silhouette, a piece of embroidery. Each outfit was a ping pong between the past and the present, with one constant, a certain kind of severity coming through in a plethora of grey hues because - as Monsieur Dior wrote in the Little Dictionary of Fashion it is, “The most convenient, useful and elegant natural color.” The overall impact gave off a certain austerity that had a mannish after taste, androgyny a la Dior. “Dior was a man who thought a lot about women and their traits. He was a man who loved to surround himself with women.” Chiuri adds. “He always worked a lot on daywear, using the masculine tailored jacket as his starting point - like the ones he wore - a shirt, a precise architectural structure. After all his way of dressing came, in part, from how he liked to dress.” The result was a parade of emancipated female explorers. Silhouettes that spoke a certain language: classic, couture, traditional. “The secret is understanding how to read all these elements without turning them into costumes.” Chiuri explained before sending a range of circle cut coats, fitted shirts and dresses down the runway, cinched at the waist with slim crocodile belts, pleated skirts in sculpted grisaglia, tunics in austere velvet. On their heads, hats created by Stephen Jones in masculine felt fabrics. On their feet, mannish brogues. A symphony that oscillated between masculine and feminine, even in the evening. Geometric embellishments, colours covered in layers of tulle, a triumph of three dimensional flowers and a lightness of whimsical embroideries. All broken up with delicate whiffs of exoticism from Iran to Cuba and Martinique. An exploration of the cultures, traditions and colours that Monsieur Dior used in his aesthetic studies.