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Paris

Christian Dior

Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear

Paris

Christian Dior

Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear

Paris

BY Katharine K. Zarrella

September 30, 2016

The wait is over: Maria Grazia Chiuri has made her debut as the first female creative director of Christian Dior.

Clearly, the fact that she is the first woman to helm the house in its 70-year history was not lost on Chiuri, who was formerly the co-creative director of Valentino, along with Pierpaolo Piccioli. One of the collection’s most talked-about (and, obviously, most Instagramed) looks was a white t-shirt that read “We should all be feminists.” It was paired with a dreamy, embellished, navy tulle skirt and sneakers.

Feminism, or, at the very least, female strength was the thread that held this collection together. The first 12 looks were entirely white, which, coincidentally or not, was the color of Suffragettes, as well as the color Hillary Clinton wore when she became the first woman in U.S. history to accept a major party’s nomination for President back in July.

Flats were a focus (not unlike they were at Lanvin, where Bouchra Jarrar made her runway debut as creative director—perhaps these ladies are trying to tell us something?), as were militaristic doublets or fencing jackets that made me think of a modern-day Joan of Arc.

These clothes were free—nothing was restrictive. From the relaxed white trousers, to the fluid, sheer blouses, to the wispy, embellished gowns, these garments were built for women who do things, not ladies who lunch.

Chiuri employed the same quirkiness here that she did at Valentino—think transparent, gauzy gowns, girlish, embroidered sweaters, and doodle-like embellishments. However, the Dior customer—especially after an era of Raf Simons’ minimalism—is used to something more tailored, classic, and clean. It will be interesting to see whether the Dior woman embraces this new aesthetic, or if Chiuri will attract a new client base entirely.

As is the trend this season, this collection had a number of sporty references, like sneakers, tank tops, and waistbands and straps that read “Christian Dior J’Dior.” The style of the latter recalled what you might see on a pair of Calvin Klein underwear.

Chiuri’s debut was classically her, and much of it looked like it could have been plucked out of one of her Valentino outings.

It was often difficult to see any house codes on this runway, save an elongated Bar coat-dress and some feminine frocks, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a good collection—the fashion set will surely scoop up these pieces the second they hit stores. And there’s a wealth of street-style catnip here.

That being said, it would be nice to see Chiuri marry her much-loved aesthetic with the Dior DNA, and push her vision beyond what it was at Valentino.

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