A fertile imagination is the trait that unites all Dior designers, exemplified by Christian Dior’s vision of luxury, Marc Bohan’s delightful exoticism, John Galliano’s fearless inventions, and Raf Simons’ bold modernism. As the newest successor at one of the world’s most legendary fashion houses, Maria Grazia Chiuri must prove worthy of contributing to the canon left by her predecessors, improve upon house codes, and stake her own corner of the Dior legacy. Early days at Dior saw the designer on shaky ground, but Spring 2017 Couture proves that she has her own magnum opus to conduct.
Spring 2017 Couture proves that Chiuri has her own magnum opus to conduct.
Guests were met with a familiar carpeted tapestry of flora and fauna, intermingled with crystal strands at the Musée Rodin, which echoed Dior’s reputable love of nature. Chiuri’s bewitching forest cast a magical spell over the proceedings, which was immediately interrupted when the show began by a sharp parade of head-to-toe black separates, replete with face masks. The density of double-faced wool crepe and a jet-black palette infused the beginning of the show with a somber mood, but look closer and you’ll see a ‘Bar’ jacket reimagined as a hoodie, lampshade tops with cape-backs, and ankle-skimming pleated gauchos. These funereal looks were sharply at odds with both the gracious forest backdrop and the rest of the collection, which offered densely embroidered gowns etched with gossamer trim. Wistful and playful surprises were injected into many looks, including the suggestion of a friendly monster’s face on the textured surface of a ballgown and an embroidered squirrel hurrying along the bottom of a dreamy tangerine dress.
Since Dior’s couture creations inevitably end up on the red carpet, it’s easy to view this collection’s appeal through that lens. With wearable couture looks that appeal to every generation of Dior client – from the grown-up shape of the ‘Bar’ silhouette to lightweight, youthful party gowns – this collection ticks all the right boxes.
Ahead of the show, the brand’s Instagram account teased a number of videos that were intended to demonstrate the importance of superstition, lucky charms, horoscopes, and other “woo woo” beliefs in the Dior couture atelier – themes that made their way onto the runway in the décor and garments. After watching the show, one thing is made crystal clear: Whatever star Chiuri has been wishing upon, whatever charm she’s kept close to her heart, it seems to be working for her.