Dior's New Couture Debut

Two significant things to note before today’s Dior Couture show: it’s the esteemed fashion house’s 70-year anniversary, and this is Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first couture collection for the house since taking on the creative director role last year. She is also the first female designer at Dior. Just two days ago Kris Van Assche showcased the menswear collection – a feisty rave offering that left everyone more than impressed that ten years on, he still has it, and Dior still knows how to do a great suit, and spin it in a contemporary way. Grazia Chiuri was there front row.

 


Dior Couture Spring Summer 2017 Fashion Show in Paris (by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)​

 

Now the spotlight was back on her. During her tenure at Valentino, she - with Pierpaolo Piccioli - was known for her fairytale and whimsical creations, princess dresses abounded under her (and his) creative direction. And they became especially fantastical and magical when it came round to couture.
So it came as no surprise then that she embraced this once more for her first Dior couture collection, one that - much like the ready-to-wear offering last season - felt like it came in two halves: It began with beautiful bar jackets that morphed into capes - and morphed perfectly into the enchanted forest setting. What's a fairytale without one? It was a feminine update for the house style classic, completed further by ruffled bouncy peplums. And then hoods, which only enhanced the Dior fairytale, though at times you would have to remind yourself it was the Dior fairy tale you were seeing unfold and not the Valentino one - such is her signature that it does seem hard to break it away. You find yourself thinking about her, the designer, at Dior, the fashion house.
Because 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.
It certainly played into what the ready-to-wear had been missing, and it was magical and beautiful as Grazia Chiuri does, and while one can't obviously fault dresses and gowns that abound with craftsmanship and that are the dictionary definition of "pretty" and for many women "magical", it felt like the strongest offering here was the opening series of on-point updated jackets. This is a direction we'd have liked to have seen more of. But no one can ever really begrudge a Dior red carpet dress.

 


Dior Couture Spring Summer 2017 Fashion Show in Paris (by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)​

 

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