I would like to open the first article of the year by talking about Dior. As you all probably know, Raf Simons was replaced by the former creative director of the House of Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri. At this point, nothing to say. We were all waiting to see what she had in store for us. Setptember 30th, the inaugural collection for the first woman designer at the head of this prestigious maison de couture. I could not have been less disappointed. And I know I was not the only one in this case. Despite the casual flow of compliments and all the fashion-politically-correct rhetoric, I did heard some rumors. “It is not enough Dior-like”-“it is way too much like at Valentino” – “she didn’t grasp the Dior spirit” – all these commentaries showed that what I am about to write in this blog is not absolute nonsense and actually reflects what most people in the industry think but do not publicize because they are afraid. That really is what it is all about. Privileges. There are, just like in other industries, privileges which contribute to make fashion what it is today. After all, it started with a bunch of people form the high-society, clients, journalists, businessmen who gathered around this elite atmosphere to discover the latest designs before anyone else and it has never changed.
January 23, 2017- Maria Grazia Chiuri is revealing her first couture collection for the House. Well, I must say this was a very refined collection, she kept it simple but still the dresses were beautifully embroidered. This was the first real Haute Couture show I have seen in a while at Dior. Yes not all dresses were perfect, some presented dubious cuts and fabrics, but overall the collection was a success (even if according to the major fashion media, every single fashion show is a success).
But I do have to say something. This collection did not at any moment reflect Dior. This was pure Valentino. I would call this show “The Valentino-bis collection”. I am so deeply attached to the House of Dior, to its values and style, to the History and the philosophy it carries, that I am writing these lines with a very high feeling of disappointment and resentment. How could one neglect or should I say in Maria Grazia’s case, be unfamiliar to such a point where she creates another Dior woman? As I quickly wrote on Instagram, the designer has not yet understood what the Dior woman implies and all the codes: we are talking here about a definite waist, about carefully architectured shoulders, about the Tailleur Bar, and all sorts of implicite codes.
Alright you will say that I am too harsh, I already heard your comments. Yes she did try to reinterpret the Tailleur Bar with this dress… Yes she tried, and yet to my opinion without success. This is again a 100% Valentino dress with this perfecly recognizable line, a waist which does not emprison the woman and a light fabrics that eases the moves. However, this is an interesting remix for today’s woman, who seeks by all means freedom and comfort. This collection fulfills this demand and will be as I expect, a success towards the clients. After all, sales are the blood vessels of this whole industry. And in this way, Maria Grazia Chiuri is a very appropriate choice to boost sales and Dior’s commercial activity, creating popular collections wearable by both millenials and elderly.
Fairytale or fail? Neither of these two terms seem appropriate. I would mostly qualify this show as an attempt. An attempt which once again does not match the expectations. We are looking for a modern intake of Christian Dior’s style, not for a pale image of what it represents.