There were plenty of pretty dresses, total princess dresses; those that cause women to have a melt down. And where the ready-to-wear collection felt or had missed their impact, here they were. Absolutely here they were. Strapless and splaying and pretty and delicate and dainty and with McQueen styling drama for headpieces and feathers. It was a more traditional and whimsical approach than the modern and austere tack that Raf had taken, and the restraint that was of course experienced during the interim of the new creative director search. [CONTINUE READING...]
A glance, framed by a cascade of stars, lights the way through a labyrinth waiting to be explored. The spirit of Maria Grazia Chiuri and her first Haute Couture collection for the house of Dior is embodied in the gaze of her models: young nymphs that delicately pass through a surreal labyrinth, wearing fragrant herbs and musk. Wearing visions and dreams transformed into dresses by the masterful hands in the LVMH atelier, which in 2017 will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the New Look – the style that launched the career of Monsieur Christian Dior in 1947. Destined to change the world and women’s style.
“I began by looking at the tradition of couture at Dior, which has an illustrious history but has evolved a lot in the past 70 years, following the various designers who have guided the maison”, Maria Grazia Chiuri explained to MFF backstage. “Monsieur Dior laid the foundations of a history that was handed over to Yves Saint-Laurent and Marc Bohan who continued and, until Gianfranco Ferré, with a classic, traditional kind of couture. John Galliano crafted a fantasy and then with Raf Simons, the story turned towards modernism. I’ve just started a relationship with an atelier that has had to put itself at the service of these incredible creative minds. And, in this job, I have tried to maintain the more traditional and artisanal aspects of couture, which comes from my Italian heritage, mixed with a more dreamlike aspect of French culture. My journey into the labyrinth of couture; a mysterious journey, it was tough but there was a light at the end of the tunnel.” And, indeed, a labyrinth crafted in soft, futuristic materials enthrones the park of the Musée Rodin: Mirrored ceilings, walls and floors covered in scented grass and at the centre of the long winding runway, a big tree covered in ribbons, fine gold chains and drops of sculpted crystal. “Gardens were a passion of Monsieur Christian Dior, I wanted to make the setting a homage to him as well, moreover a labyrinth and a secret garden, something special,” Maria Grazia Chiuri said afterwards to a parade of young ladies invited to a special couture grand ball. “The history of this maison is long and complex. I am discovering a bit at a time, using my memories as a way of telling the story, without being too academic”. And the history of the house has its roots in the New Look. That architectural New Look that can be seen in the very first look in the show, in total black (“I thought of men dancing with girls in ball gowns”). But there are references to the world of Monsieur Christian Dior that come out throughout the collection. In the flowers, painted by hand in Verona, Italy by Pagliani, which also celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. In the surrealism of certain designs hand painted on tulle, that recall the friendship between the house’s founder and Jean Cocteau. In the lucky symbols, the tarot and the astrological signs, in the esoteric fragments that piece it all together reminding us of the passions of the couturier. Or in the delicate rerelease of a selection of iconic models, like the Giunone: an evening style decorated with a cascade of pleated fans. In the 59 looks that move lightly over the grass, like a field in springtime, are details that recall Marchesa Luisa Casati, Leonor Fini or Janine Janet, legendary figures who carried a fantastical charm and playful extravagance. They are figures that today wear monumental headpieces, from crowns to plumes of feathers or crowns of flowers, all created in collaboration with Stephen Jones. Flaunting unique jewels, pieces of art created by Claude Lalanne, who started his artistic career after meeting Monsieur Dior. The rest of the show is a masterful combination of the maison’s visual vocabulary; from the rigorous architectural silhouettes for day and the poetry of evening dresses, from the geometry of the Bar jacket and effervescence of the long tulle skirts, from the simplicity of blouses with soleil pleats and the opulence of some courtesan styles. In a symphony that began in the archives and writes a new page in the history of couture, faithful to the past but in the hands of a new owner.
By Giampietro Baudo - MFF Magazine for Fashion