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Dior, Are Clothes Modern? Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Fall Couture Collection

This year’s Fall/Winter couture week is in full swing as Paris lights up with dozens of spectacular shows from famous designers. Many collections have celebrated resounding support and adoration, however, Dior has faced a more challenging response. The collection, lead by Maria Grazia Chiuri, has received mixed responses. Some hate it, others are praising Chirui for her analytical interpretation of fashion. To fully understand this collection, let’s get into the good, the bad and the just plain drab.

To ignore the philosophy of this collection is a mistake. Chiuri’s collection tackles different notions of fashion and breaks down what exactly they mean. The Italian designer was inspired by Bernard Rudofsky’s essay, “Are Clothes Modern?”. The essay delves into why exactly we like or dislike certain clothes or trends. Rudofsky analyzes the regular fashion conventions we all follow and posits that they are unnecessary and harmful. Now, this has been a hot topic in the fashion world lately. As our society diversifies, we can no longer accept a set of rules or conventions for all of fashion. We want more options for all kinds of women and the lone concept of “femininity” is often considered archaic. Breaking down “femininity” is not new for Chiuri and she has spoken about this issue many times, so it’s no wonder the theme appeared in her collection.

The biggest decision she made was to remove color from her collection. Almost all of her pieces were done in black, which moved the focus of the collection to the texture, design and details. She used this opportunity to incorporate a variety of textures such as mesh, lace and even fringe! She also used a multitude of fabrics in this collection. Her designs were intricate in the way she layered different materials, giving the looks a lot of depth. The makeup was heavy and intense, which excellently complimented the almost gothic style of this collection. All of the shoes were simple and designed for comfort, which again brings us back to the dissection of beauty conventions.

Chirui did do a good job bringing this discussion into her collection! Her lack of color nodded to the idea of rejecting beauty conventions and she also had two standout pieces that explicitly exhibited the theme. However, while the philosophical musings were interesting, many aspects of her collection made it quite boring and repetitive.

The lack of color was a bold choice but it could’ve been used much better. Many ensembles had an unflattering shade of blackish-grey that made the outfit look very drab. The black gave the collection an edgy vibe, but this has been seen so many times. Darker outfits which used lace and mesh, paired with heavy dark eyes is an incredibly overdone theme. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent have already beaten out every single look possible with this style. Additionally, there was a lot of repetition in the collection itself, which made it look lazy and sloppy. For example, silhouettes were constantly repeated. The same dress with a sweetheart neckline and a belt high upon the waist appeared many times. There were many heavy and dark belted jackets, which again began to feel repetitive.

For a couture show, the Dior collection was a little underwhelming. The point of these collections is to break boundaries and elevate fashion to art. Dior didn’t achieve this and I was disappointed to see the same outfit (just with different patterns) again and again. The most fascinating looks to me were the dresses heavily inspired by gladiators. These ensembles had fascinating silhouettes and it really felt edgy and intriguing. None of the designs were bad per se, but they lacked originality. Chirui is capable of much more creative work and while her ideas were innovative, it didn’t translate into the collection.

Personally, I believe that if Chirui had downsized the collection and got rid of some copies, the collection would’ve fared better. I also think that she should’ve explored the theme more, as that would help her create more engaging and memorable pieces. Chiuri is attempting to bring out a more revolutionary side to Dior, which is very important in our changing world of fashion. Here’s hoping next time she hits the nail more on the head.

Featured Image via Dior’s Official Instagram

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