After feminism, Dior goes into sustainability. This is the message behind its last prêt-à-porter show, the presentation of which coincides with the Global Climate Strike part of the Global Week for Future from 20th-27th September, as a reaction to the United Nations Climate Action Summit that took place on September 23rd in New York. This big event is related to the worldwide action part of the school strike for climate movement, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. So, it seems that the mega brand is checking all the boxes to show their involvement in green matters.
Starting from the inspiration of the collection, Christian Dior’s sister Catherine and her passion for flowers as a horticulturist, to the location, the Longchamp racecourse in Paris with the set up conceived by Coloco, the collective of botanists, architects, biologists, and landscapers, that works on emphasizing awareness of people to use the world as their own garden with us as our own gardeners. The 164 trees used for the staging will be replanted in four locations around Paris.
“I keep questioning myself which is the role of a creative mind in this complex situation,” said Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director. “I’m honest and I'm not afraid to say that, so far, I don’t have an answer to this. But as an active person, I don’t want to design just clothes inspired by gardening and flowers, and ignoring the rest; so, I take my risks using my job to inspire other minds. I strongly believe in the long-term project, so what I’m personally doing is trying to grow awareness to all the people I work with from my team to the supply chain. I’m convinced that this makes more sense than doing just a sustainable t-shirt for market purposes, but so far timelessness and sustainability is a juxtaposition that is not very easy to manage.” Chiuri’s personal honesty, passion, and devotion are admirable, but she also speaks as a designer of Dior that recently launched another capsule collection, “30 Montaigne,” made with all the essentials pieces from the heritage of the Maison and adding one more to the already existing collections. This really clashes with overproduction, one of the big issues of the fashion industry. Why launch another collection, even if made with timeless pieces, added to the other Dior ones? Setting this path is not effortless, so it takes times and difficult decisions, but a big company is not a 16-year-old Swedish girl to whom you could forgive the faux pas due to her inexperience.
A postapocalyptic world populated by survived clans of different styles were the protagonists of the Marine Serre collection that sounded like an admonishment to the audience that the world is going to end soon. She considers it gone already, so she showed 5 gangs of survivors with differing styles. The first looked like a priest risen from the petrol flood, all wearing black with clean shapes of sculptured dresses and embossed leather. The desert community came after with their elaborated version of the tailoring and the scuba-djellaba dress. The old establishment is third clan; they made their clothing with what they found as waste from the previous existence: crochet tablecloths, bed sheets, curtains turned into tops and dresses; they lost their social position, but they aim to keep their aesthetic. Then the fourth clan decided to redo their executive suits with towels symbolizing the water rising and seeping everywhere. This led to a hybridization of clothing and human beings, and the final clan participated as amphibians with covered faces and printed dresses. The printed bodysuits and apparel the French designer made into a signature item became undoubtedly something that immediately connoted her style. But when you look at the real design, she stuck into her cliché silhouettes that need to move to the next step.
In reverse Christelle Kocher at Koché showed a beautiful collection, keeping her DNA very visible but evolving season by season into a more intellectual side. This one is a step forward for the craftsmanship, cutting, and embroidering. Beautiful hand-decorated evening dresses with hundreds of crystals gave them a Thirties flair. “I think that knowledge is very important; we are living in an era of excess, everything is quick and superficial,” explained the designer backstage. “So, I decided to show in a library to illustrate how books are important. I started to work when I was 14, so they gave me everything.”
Under the Eiffel Tower, Saint Laurent proposed a stunning open air, all-black set up with dozens of whirling lights pointed to the sky. Anthony Vaccarello, Creative Director of the French Maison, is finally finding his own way delivering a beautiful collection (though a bit repetitive) full of Saint Laurent with a pinch of his own touch, but well balanced. “I wanted to push toward something heavy with gold and decoration,” said the designer backstage. “I exaggerated the heritage Russian Collection and made it even more rich. Then the smoking was the other starting point. I believe that the tuxedo belongs to us, so I wanted to reinterpret it in different ways as a statement of our heritage. Then my personal touches were the shorts in the beginning of the show.” Finally, Vaccarello found his balance in the Maison. The Hedi Slimane shadow is gone and, for womenswear, he found his distinguishing feature. What’s more, he is working on creating collections that are instant classics and timeless right away. This is a smart, modern approach. “I started to think beyond properly seasonal collections, and, working on the layers, I began to consider something beyond the trend,” he explained. “I want that my pieces will be always desirable and last forever.” And this could be also very sustainable in terms of production, I would add.