A New Age of Dior

By: Abigail Kahn

As Paris Fashion Week begins, Dior caused an uproar of excitement for their sought after designs. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the new creative director of the brand who had replaced Raf Simons nearly a year ago, marked her distinct identity onto the collection. The Italian fashion designer entered Dior with a clear image of feminine strength. Having worked in Valentino for two decades, her knowledge in the industry is admirable. Maria Grazia did not hesitate to bring that impressive resume to her first couture shows at Dior.

After a year of experiencing her delicate, fairy-tale vision for the brand, we are presented with her ready-to-wear spring/summer 2018 collection. This line revolves around the idea of female creativity and qualities of feminism. It is a bold, millennial step for the luxurious housewhich may be the risk that is needed to present a fresh take while attracting a more youthful audience.

The collection opened with a savvy ensemble that showcased a chic, Parisian look for the young woman. A valiant statement marked the striped sweater, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” The line comes from art historian, Linda Nochlin's essay that delves into the ongoing battle of including female artists into history. Maria Grazia showcased her immense passion for women artists, incorporating the mystical, alluring aspects of past art into the background for the show.

Patchwork and strategic accessorizing were evident as each model strolled effortlessly down the runway. The flared denim that hung loosely off the models added a 70s feel to the show. This is a major contrast to the Dior that has been known for the affluent gowns for the wealthy, grown woman.

Some of the more controversial pieces of the collection were the classic tulle skirts and array of sheer fabrics. These designs have been endlessly photographed in Vogue, and worn by celebrities to prestigious award shows. They were quickly deemed as a signature design for Maria Grazia. Many have protested that the design has already been overused, and immediately have questioned the true creativity of the Italian designer. It appears to be a risk to take for Dior, as the playful mischief of the chosen silhouettes have brought popularity. The only question is how much longer Maria Grazia can decide upon including these ensembles onto her runways.

Following the dauntless momentum of intricate embellishments and vivid color palette was an eclectic swarm of sweaters. The inspiration of these especially lively designs had most likely come from the young artist, Niki de Saint Phalle. Maria Grazia took advantage of the Dior archive, showing a keen interest in the French-American artist who was known for her colorful mosaics and mythical, female sculptures. There were checkered patterns, loose sweaters, and an exchange of maryjanes and sneakers that hit the runway. The essence of the young aristocrat was clear, and may just be the educated viewpoint that Dior can thrive on for a new age of brave women.