Perhaps it was fate, or simply serendipitous kismet, that aligned the appointment of Dior’s first female creative director with the new wave of modern feminism and human rights protests that have been dominating the media recently. Either way, from her first day at the helm of the classic Parisian brand, Maria Grazia Chiuri has made her intent and her stance on the current state of affairs crystal clear. When her debut collection showed back in the Fall of 2016, the stand out item was a simple white t-shirt stating “we should all be feminists”, and Chiuri has been riding that wave, along with increased media coverage of female empowerment, ever since.
The Fall 2018 Ready to Wear collection for Dior continued the feminist call to arms, starting at the entrance placed on the grounds of the Musée Rodin. The façade was covered with images emulating ripped headlines and magazine covers from 1968, the fateful year of the student uprising in Paris, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The motif continued inside, with slogans and images of the time covering the walls, seats and runway, setting the stage and the theme of the collection.
As could be expected, Chiuri focused on bringing the 60’s student into modern day fashion. There were schoolgirl plaids and tweeds in matching slouchy pantsuits and skirts, patchwork coats and sweaters and plenty of translucent tulle, which has become as much of a Dior staple as the Christian Dior logo bra and panty sets that peek out from underneath. Each girl donned a newsboy cap and oversized sunglasses, mixing a youthful, androgynous vibe with the badass air of “I can see you, but you can’t see me”. Belts capped off with a large gold D buckle were paired with several outfits, cinching in the waist of dresses and leather coats.
It is no coincidence that Chiuri was influenced by a period of time in which the youth called upon themselves to elicit social change, a movement of which we are seeing afoot in America at the moment. It is also worth noting that while the 60’s have been a source of inspiration for designers and artists for decades, the student uprising in 1968 was a direct response to American imperialism and consumerism, perhaps an ironic source of inspiration for a luxury brand selling a t-shirt for $700. Regardless, there is power in Chiuri’s Dior Army, and hope in the sense that the movement is not dying and is still being addressed, albeit from behind the multicolored lenses of Christian Dior sunglasses.
Written by Elizabeth Kramsky
Visuals by Olga Sorokina
Photo by Gerson Lirio