Some musings on the strong feminist message behind the Dior show yesterday
Woman Power is the overwhelming force in ParisThe messages at Dior were bold and clear – even before a single model stepped on a tent-floor, made from compressed copies of Le Monde , constructed by artist Claire Fontaine. Above our heads were statements from designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. “Women are the moon that moves the tides” was one powerful announcement. And: “When women strike the world stops”. Practicality and a reality-check winter wardrobe, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © Estrop/Getty It is hardly news that the Dior designer puts women first. It has been her message since she joined the classic Paris house in 2016. Turning tides and heads, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © Pascal Le Segretain/Getty But in the week of a symbolic win by women against sexual predator and movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, Maria Grazia’s ever-louder fashion drum, beating for female power, felt especially relevant. “I think ’consent’ is a strong word that pulls attention,” said the designer. “People say that you have to see it in context – but it is very difficult to listen and understand each other.” A diplomatic response. But when it came to the collection, the designer was more forthcoming. “I really tried this season to develop a code with unusual materials like knitwear,” said Maria Grazia, referring perhaps to a black sweater with painterly red splotches over a collar-and-tie shirt. Below it was a plaid skirt with straight lines offered at an angle. A red-splotched sweater over collar and tie, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © Dominique Charriau/Getty The plaids and checks worn like soft tailoring gave the overall impression of a real Winter 2020 wardrobe, a reality-check from haute couture, just as it should be. Maria Grazia Chiuri's art-inspired collection, with a Stephen Jones twist, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © Pascal Le Segretain/Getty “I think part of my Italian DNA brings me very close to industrial design,” Maria Grazia continued. “I tried to translate the look, so we have the Bar jacket with knitwear and pants, or with a knitted skirt. There is a lot of research and technique. You find lace and other elements, but it’s the first time in my life that I have opened a collection with the first six looks in knitwear.” The softened Bar jacket, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © GoRunway As the models walked in straight lines across the wide space, they looked purposeful and pretty in practical and wearable clothes. Hemlines were sometimes thigh-high and scarves tied around the head were yet another cool Stephen Jones accessory. There was nothing that people from another era might have called ‘frightening the horses’, but the switch to knit for the famous Bar jacket was a soft statement about changing times. The softness of knitwear meets a diaphanous dress, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © FRANCOIS GUILLOT/Getty Maria Grazia’s interest in artists who have spoken up for women engages and enlarges her vision. Her list of artistic influences included Carla Lonzi, a feminist, activist and Italian art critic. The designer quoted many more artists and incorporated them as references into the clothes and the set. She also spoke about her mother, a dressmaker: “I have this memory of her saying that when women want to change the way they dress, the dress becomes a way to express themselves. Sometimes, you don’t remember the name of the designer, but you remember the name of the woman wearing the dress.” A knitted shawl over shirt and tie for a purposeful, powerful look, Dior, Autumn/Winter 2020 © GoRunway “A name in my memory is Mina [Italian pop singer],” continued Maria Grazia. “I don’t remember the designer of her dress. I just remember Mina, the style of Mina. Women use pieces to represent themselves. And that, for me as a designer, is very important.” Maria Grazia Chiuri's feminist finale for Dior Autumn/Winter 2020 © Victor Boyko/Getty It was a good, clear collection, but from the outside it somehow missed the urgency that Maria Grazia herself certainly felt and might have wished to convey. It was a fresh style to please smart, young women – but not one to move the tides. Lire la suite: Vogue.fr
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