In the showspace behind the Musée Rodin, larger-than-life plaster ear, nose, lips, and torsos dangled from a mirrored ceiling. The floor was designed like a black and white chess board. The phrase, “Only the inevitable theatricality of life interests me,” by Leonor Fini—an avant-garde artist connected to Christian Dior via the gallery he once operated—was written in cursive on the wall. The stage was set for the Christian Dior Spring 2018 show, and what a show it was. If the international press stood divided over Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut collections for Dior—“real clothes for real women” gawked critics—she stayed her course.
For Spring 2018, Chiuri explored surrealism to take us on a journey through the irrational subconscious. After framing models’ eyes with delicate chiffon masks by milliner Stephen Jones and decorating their collarbones with temporary tattoos, Chiuri sent them out in a storm of black and white clothes that revealed a hidden and intuitive facet of the Dior woman.
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Eveningwear–dresses and tuxedo looks–dominated the couture offering Perhaps, at times, the interpretation of the surrealist theme was too simple: long-sleeved gloves draped over shoulders to insinuate an embrace, or dragonne “spikes” that jutted off the shoulders of a tuxedo jacket lacked sophistication. But for the most part, Chiuri excelled when she wove the notion of surrealism through her clothes. To wit: an off-the-shoulder red dress (one of the few of color) with tight bodice and pleated skirt suggested a neat paradox of constraint on the brink of explosion. Meanwhile, a handkerchief hemline hinted at a pantomime flirt and another dress featured what must have been over one hundred eyes, stitched together to bewitching effect. The numerous tailleurs reinforced the notion of control but soon made way for textured, shaggy cloaks that served to remind that we are the makers of our rendezvous of dreams.
Recently, Dior dressed five women—Elizabeth Moss, Jessica Biel, Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Sally Hawkins at the 2017 Golden Globes that will forever be remembered as a major moment for the #timesup movement. It’s a telling sign. Now more than ever, women will gravitate to the French house, led by a female designer whose work empowers women in their day-to-day but also night. Dalí’s surrealist art is considered to transform darkness into a new, beautiful truth. More or less what real women today are doing by coming together to transmute real problems like pay disparity and sexual harassment. And for those who can, why not make the uniform of choice for a surreal world and life—Dior?
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