Maria Grazia Chiuri christens the beret as next season’s It item in her latest blockbuster Dior show
True fashion – the kind that, as defined by Coco Chanel – is actually worn, is generally a happy collision of creativity and timing. The latter is by far the more important consideration. Christian Dior’s 1947 sweeping skirts and wasp-waisted Bar jackets were lovely, but it was their arrival, on the trail of so much austerity and deprivation, that made women deliriously determined to wear them.
The same might be said of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s designs at Dior. Less than a year into the job, Dior’s first female Creative Director has already delivered the Holy Grail of a product that’s not only a hit, but a talking point – not once, but twice. Her kitten heel sling-back, with its delicate looking, dressmaker-ly ticker tape straps is a sell-out (enough with trainers) and her We Should All Be Feminists t-shirts are similarly cult-y this spring.
Will the same be true of the leather berets that lent every look in this Autumn/Winter 2017, from cashmere hoodie tunic to gossamer tulle ball-skirt, a touch of Che Guevara? (The studded, cross-body bandouliere bag straps helped).
Rihanna, purposefully making her way backstage through the post-show mayhem, was already wearing one of the berets, with a black structured double breasted Dior wool coat. Enough said.
There was an enormous amount in this blockbuster show (69 outfits: shows, like movies, are getting longer) to carry – neat saddle bags and duffels. More surprisingly, given that Dior makes most of its money from accessories and perfumes, there was a lot to wear.
Philosophically, Chiuri aligned herself with the 70’s – that mid-period between hippies and punk, when women were just beginning to hit their stride, both professionally and with clothes that were fluid, assertive, comfortable and, because of that combination, slyly sexy.
Knitwear, not previously noteworthy at Dior, suddenly looks like a strong category – either plain navy cashmeres or with delicate silver beading tracery. Insect jewellery (Christian Dior was partial to bees, both real and embroidered) will be another trend.
Tailored denim all-in-ones with smart white top stitching, canvas trouser suits, light-weight taffeta pleated midi skirts, hoodie-wool dresses, check wrap coats and flared trousers, all nodded to the decade, without toppling into slavish pastiche.
“It was the spirit of the 1970’s, more than anything,” said Chiuri backstage. The Dior Bar jacket, deconstructed and, she explained, devoid of any corseting, is now a taffeta jacket which, while still defining the waist in that distinctive Dior way, looks as light as a shirt. A cinch-waist caped-back dress summed up her knack for creating new signatures. With her former creative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli, Grazia had huge success previously at Valentino with a long caped back column gown. This might be Dior’s version.
grey bridesmaid dresses | red bridesmaid dresses