Christian Dior turned back the clock for its latest runway show in Paris on Tuesday, as designer Maria Grazia Chiuri dipped into her childhood and teenage memories in Italy with 1970s-inspired looks.
Models wearing headscarves showcased pieces in chequered prints and plenty of fringes, while the designer also explored feminist references that first inspired her, and which have become a recurrent theme for the LVMH-owned brand.
“I come back to when I was younger in Rome around the seventies, eighties, because it was an important moment of my life… with important issues like the liberation of women,” Chiuri told Reuters in an interview.
Some looks seemed inspired directly by Chiuri’s own experiences, including a camouflage-style puffer jacket.
“I remember the first time I went to the flea-market to buy my denim pants, my military jacket because I didn’t want to be dressed with a pretty dress in which I didn’t recognise myself,” she said.
Actresses Demi Moore, Nina Dobrev, and Sigourney Weaver were among the stars on the front row at the Paris show. Dior was one of the first major French brands to kick off Paris Fashion Week, which closes the latest season of shows that have whizzed through New York, London and Milan.
Inspired by Carla Lonzi, a feminist activist from the seventies and Marc Bohan, Dior’s creative director for 30 years, the Autumn-Winter styles featured polka-dot prints, crossed-body bags and see-through shirts.
Dior also reinterpreted the brand’s distinctive “Bar” jacket in a curvaceous cashmere wool cardigan.
Other evening looks were more luxurious, like sheer silk gowns, though many were styled with sturdy boots rather than stilettos. The show closed on glittery, fluid dresses.
The venue was designed by the Claire Fontaine collective, and included displays of illuminated messages such as “Consent” and “We are all clitoridian women” hung above the catwalk inside a pop-up installation in the Jardin des Tuileries.
“There are certain times that you sense fashion is going to break open and I feel it’s happening a little bit right now,” American actress Andie MacDowell told Reuters after the show. “From losing corsets to burning bras, I think women are empowering each other.”
The coronavirus outbreak meant there were few Asian buyers in attendance. Last week, Italian fashion houses presented in an empty theatre at Milan Fashion Week.