For today's AW17 show, Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by one of Christian Dior’s favourite colours: blue. "Among all the colours, navy blue is the only one which can ever compete with black, it has all the same qualities" wrote Dior in his guide to dressing well, The Little Dictionary of Fashion, published in 1954.
“The collection is a sequence of pieces that reconnect emotions, feelings and memories,” the show notes explained. "Inspired by the ample hood, borrowed from the tunics of pastors, Maria Grazia Chiuri reinterprets the idea of the Chevrier look from the Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1949 collection in a series of jackets, skirts, dresses, capes, coats and small bomber jackets, revisiting the extravagance of the original hood through a more contemporary and sporty attitude, and the transgressive use of materials: taffeta, velvet, herringbone motifs, knit.”
Ruth Bell, now a Dior regular, again opened the show, wearing a hooded blue jacket belted around the waist, with navy cropped trousers, black court shoes, an embellished cross-body bag, and a black beret. Every model in the procession of 68 looks wore a black beret – a universal symbol of protest and revolution, worn by armies and activists all over the world – reiterating the fact that Chiuri's feminist Dior girl is bold, informed and passionate.
Navy blue featured heavily in the collection, which was occasionally punctuated with black pieces and white looks. The show notes explained the significance of the colour as a "symbol of power, beauty, and spirituality [that] is employed for genderless outfits and to express differences. It is positioned between nature and culture as the colour of the spirit, of contact with the infinite, in us and beyond. It initiates a link to the mystery of the moon, the comets and planets that explode on evening dresses of opulent velvet or on degrade tulle that blends into the blue-grey of embroidered lily flowers. Blue fascinates through its emotional resonance, but also its social quality. It encapsulates a real cross-section in terms of gender, age and social class.”
Following the stark interior for Chiuri’s debut, this season the Musée Rodin space was transformed with blue lighting, navy upholstery and the Dior golden bee motif embroidered on every seat. Another indication of Chiuri's political activism were the white bandanas left on every seat, part of Business of Fashion's #TiedTogether campaign. Reaffirming Chiuri's apparent commitment to feminism, first asserted at her debut show and again earlier this week, Dior’s bandana read ‘Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.'
Blue came to life in the form of modern workwear, denim boiler suits, velvet dresses, tulle gowns, ruffled, tiered skirts, Bar jackets, navy knitwear, black and blue checked tailoring, bustier dresses and turn-up wide-leg jeans. There was daywear and evening wear; tomboy, androgynous looks and exquisite, feminine frocks with swirling constellations embroidered above the hem – Chiuri’s mission for Dior is to cater for every kind of modern woman. And her cast was as diverse as the collection itself, with many of our favourite faces walking in the varied lineup, including Binx Walton, Lineisy Montero, Fernanda Ly and Adwoa Aboah. This was a welcome relief considering the casting controversy that began Paris Fashion Week.
A multitude of women, from fashion, music and film, came out to support Chiuri's second collection as Rihanna sat front row (wearing a black leather Dior beret, of course), joined by Kate Moss, Alicia Keys, Uma Thurman, Bianca Jagger, Sienna Miller and Rosamund Pike. Though Chiuri's designs might be less directional than her predecessors, like John Galliano and Raf Simons, we're still very excited about this new era for the French fashion house and think Christian Dior himself would be very proud, too.