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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Dior's pragmatic approach to haute couture puts women first 

For its 70th anniversary, the house looked to its archives for inspiration 

Look 3 from Christian Dior's autumn/winter 2017 haute couture show. Courtesy Christian Dior
Look 3 from Christian Dior's autumn/winter 2017 haute couture show. Courtesy Christian Dior

Christian Dior looked to its own history for inspiration for its autumn/winter 2017 haute couture collection, shown in Paris on July 3.

Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri used the platform to celebrate the house's 70th anniversary, rummaging through archives, unearthing silhouettes and even a map, which were all then translated into the show.

Starting with female explorers (Chiuri is a designer who always pays homage to strong women), she wheeled out Victorian coats and sturdy flat shoes, securely belted over far less practical silk. Coats gave way to bare shoulders and floor-length gowns, deflty working her way through a discreet palette and assorted necklines. Fabric was draped, folded and even knotted under the jaw, while the décolleté fell away to deep plunges and an almost medieval low-cut square.

Colours moved from stark greys and muddy nudes to mauves, greens and buttery creams. Although lifted with a single, shocking hit of red, most pieces were simple and austere, and even the embroidery was discreet.

Couture can be a dilemma for houses. The one true outlet for creativity, it can too easily veer into adornment for the sake of adornment. In the focused hands of Chiuri, however, Dior's couture is a supremely elegant walk through history.

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