Paris Fashion Week: now women design for women

MIt might be mistaken for spring, but the sun over the Tuileries Gardens is deceptive as a chilly breeze sweeps through the waiting crowd in front of the monumental white building that will host the first big spectacle of Paris Fashion Week. Appearance is also deceiving. A rectangle with a wide staircase, on which Dior is written in huge gold letters, can be confused with male megalomania. But what will happen inside is almost entirely the work of women.

The first one sits before the show on one of the comfortable soft benches at the edge of the podium. Artist Joana Vasconcelos has created a giant fabric installation that adorns the podium in the form of an octopus with fantasy flowers. It bears the cryptic name “Miss Dior’s Valkyrie”. But what does the stately Valkyrie have to do with Miss Dior, the elegant Frenchwoman?

Don’t think about Wagner, Vasconcelos warns with a smile. But to the woman who was the model for the Miss Dior perfume: Catherine Dior, the younger sister and muse of the couturier and the modern Valkyrie, as Vasconcelos says, because she fought in the Resistance during the German occupation, survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp and later devoted herself to flowers, first as a wholesaler merchant, and then as a breeder. Strong woman, says the Portuguese. “For me, part of that is that she was both sensitive and turned to something poetic, like flowers after a terrible experience.”

The New Look of the Fifties Revisited

This polar opposite is reflected in the collection that Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri presented on the catwalk shortly thereafter. At first glance, a feminine collection that rethinks the new image of the fifties: narrow waist, wide skirts, flat shoulders. The floral motifs of that time have been digitally alienated. Thanks to soft fabrics, it removes formality from dresses. In addition, Chiuri mixes masculine elements such as black trousers, white shirts with ties, loose-fitting jackets and berets, a style of clothing worn by women in the Resistance because pleated skirts and blouses were not suitable for combat.

“We should all be feminists,” Chiuri wrote on the T-shirts.

For Chiuri, who was appointed to the fashion house in 2016 as the first female creative director and soon after established her work motto with a simple slogan “We should all be feminists” on shirts, Catherine Dior is one of those women who subverted stereotypical ways thinking on it led an independent life. In many ways, she, who died in 2008 at the age of 90, was stronger than her brother. Chiuri’s designs for next fall and winter should be understood not only as feminist, but downright feminine, because they bring back the waist that disappeared in the oversized theme of previous seasons.

Some women may like this. And, if it sells well, Delphine Arnaud, who will sit next to Charlize Theron in the front row during the show. Lately, she’s been running Dior, another strong woman in the Dior space, emerging from the shadow of her father, Bernard Arnault, boss of the luxury group LVMH and once again the second richest man in the world.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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