Maria Grazia Chiuri's Debut Collection for Dior was Full of French Elegance

Maria Grazia Chiuri's Debut Collection for Dior was Full of French Elegance

The newly appointed creative director paid homage to the French house's traditional elegance and craftsmanship with a feminist twist.

The newly appointed creative director paid homage to the French house's traditional elegance and craftsmanship with a feminist twist.

Text: Mariana Fernandez

It’s been a year since Raf Simons announced his departure from Dior, breaking hearts all over the fashion industry. The house continued to show–sans creative director until, earlier this summer, Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri was appointed as the house’s first-ever female one.

Like Anthony Vaccarello’s debut for Saint Laurent, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut collection for Dior was among the most anticipated shows of Paris Fashion Week. But unlike Vaccarello, who opted for glitter and brazen sexuality, Chiuri shied away from theatricality in her collection. Instead, she delivered a show that was perfectly beautiful and feminine in all its simplicity.

To match the collection, the show was staged at the Musee Rodin, one of Paris’s most classic examples of French beauty and elegance. The setting was simple, too–a wooden catwalk and matching benches for the audience.

Empty space, minutes before the first guests arrive… The calm before the storm. #DiorSS17

A photo posted by Dior Official (@dior) on

The show opened with reworked fencing uniforms–cropped white trousers and matching white padded jackets complete with embroidered hearts. In a show note, Chiuri described fencing as a “discipline in which the balance between thought and action, the harmony between mind and heart are essential. The uniform of the female fencer is, with the exception of some special protections, the same as for the male fencer.”

But aside from the perhaps non-gendered fencing uniforms, bold femininity and romantic silhouettes dominated at Dior Spring 2017. In additional show notes, Chiuri said that she aimed to “create fashion that resembles the women of today.” As the first woman to be named creative director of the 60-year-old atelier, it was only fitting that Chiuri delivered a feminist message, quite explicitly nonetheless in a t-shirt reading, “We should all be feminists,” which referenced Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s influential essay of the same title, sampled in Beyoncé's "Flawless." Adichie sat in the front row alongside Anna Wintour, Rihanna, and Marion Cotillard.

Agree? #diorss17

A photo posted by The Catwalk Italia - TCI (@thecatwalkitalia) on

Intricate embroidered hearts, leaves, and flowers highlighted the craftsmanship of Dior’s historic ateliers, as did the inclusion of the bee as a tribute to the timeless Dior motif. The show opened with a series of overwhelmingly white outfits (chiffon skirts and variations of the boxy fencing jacket) before transitioning to black ethereal gowns in the same sheer chiffon and detailed embroidery.

In stark contrast to most of the other runways this season, the Dior catwalk was absent of all the social media moguls that we’ve grown accustomed to (Gigi, Bella, Kendall), instead opting for a refreshing cast of exclusively editorial faces, including, Yasmin Wijnaldum, Julia Nobis, and twins Ruth and May Bell. 

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