When Maria Grazia Chiuri took her seat as creative director at Dior in 2017, the very first woman to do so, she cast a spell over the house. She would bring a new wave of modernity and feminism to the heritage-rich brand that has, for the last 71 years, encapsulated style and grace with the utmost elegant demeanour. Maria has the Midas touch when it comes to the female point of view.
Staged in the Musée Rodin, giant ceramic cast body-parts lay suspended from the ceiling, while models glided below. A monochrome colour palette provided the perfect backdrop for Grazia Chiuri's designs that playfully reconstructed the eccentricity of 20th Century surrealism into modern, wearable art.
The show consisted mainly of intricate and beautifully detailed ball gowns and was, in many ways, a repeat of last years ss17 catwalk: impeccable tailoring, heavy tulle, lashings of ruffles and heavy lace consisting of embroidered motifs held together by large connecting stitches.
Some garments had more otherworldly appeal, providing an ode to the great female surrealists of by-gone times like Eileen Agar, Dorothea Tanning and Leonor Fini. The effect was strong in some looks, like checkerboard gowns complete with matching feathered cape.Other looks were more subtle in their approach: sweeping organza gowns with whimsical butterfly motifs. French phrases from surrealist artists were tattooed across the models’ collarbones too (“what’s important, when we start out, is not necessarily to understand but to love”).
The pieces are incredibly impressive and the overall looks are effortlessly elegant (by effortless, I mean each model went through a rigamarole of hair and makeup for hours before-hand). However, some fashion critics think that this episode lacks the warmth of previous Chiuri collections which have made them so engaging.
Many models were also crowned in dramatic headwear and veils - created in collaboration with British milliner Stephen Jones.
Away from the runway, model Naomi Campbell and stylist-cum-other-half Jenke Ahmed Tailly stole the show dressed in full Dior ss18.