Dior FW19 Haute Couture Made an Architectural Statement

Pulling from architectural inspiration, Dior Couture FW19 featured stoic and statuesque garments.

In an Instagram post yesterday, Dior discussed the inspiration for its FW19 Couture line. “Through the centuries, the caryatids … have come to be a metaphorical illustration of the supporting role women play, both in architecture and society.” A staple of Ancient Greek buildings, caryatids are columns in the shape of women that simultaneously ornament and uphold their attached structures. Their beauty is obvious; their function isn’t, often hidden by a building’s facade. Regardless, they’re another visual reminder of women acting as collateral figures throughout time – an important note for Dior’s collection.

The collection started with a white sheath dress, carrying the question “are clothes modern?” by Bernard Rudofsky. The following looks were dark, most entirely in black. There seemed to be two types of garments: ones that cloaked the body in stiff, pillar-like fabric and others that fit the body with ornate tulle and lace. The first consisted of belted mini-dresses and caped silk pantsuits. The latter included wide ruffled dresses and skirted bodices with laced extremities, resembling sleeve tattoos. The garments were traditional couture looks, embodying their inspiration and delivering them with gothic drama.

It wasn’t until the end that garments became less rigid and more colorful. With a collection pulling inspiration from classic beauty, the show’s closing look felt like a shock. Look 65 was a literal gold doll house and some stockings. With this finale, Dior FW19 answered a lot of questions. To Rudofsky’s inquiry, Dior seems to think clothes can be modern. As caryatids illustrate, women have played the role of selflessly hoisting (and beautifying) society since its inception. In this modern world, women aren’t just supportive beams, they can be the whole goddamn house too.


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