Paris Fashion Week: Strong yet dreamy, well tended collection on show for Dior
Front row guests included Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence and Karlie Kloss
Models walk the runway during the Christian Dior Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis Getty Images
Maria Grazia Chiuri’s spring 2020 show for Dior opened Paris fashion week at the Longchamp Racecourse in the Bois de Boulogne on a wet and damp afternoon in the city.
Front row guests included Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence, Karlie Kloss and Erin O Connor who were shepherded through the crowds under black umbrellas.
The interior setting, a woodland of more than 160 free standing trees, was a tribute to Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s sister. She was a passionate gardener - like her brother - who tended the family’s gardens and played a mostly forgotten part in the history of the house - though its first fragrance Miss Dior was named after her. The trees will be replanted after the show throughout Paris.
A tribute to the variety of nature and the house’s decorative tradition of floral design, the collection’s motifs - sinuous traceries of flowers, leaves and twigs, sometimes in black or in muted, subtle colours decorated long filmy dresses, skirts and coats throughout.
Though the sylvan setting featured no palm trees, straw was used in lavishly embroidered raffia skirts, earthy strapless, fringed dresses and basket hats (by Stephen Jones). Long rustling skirts and shirts suggested prairie girls rather than cottage gardeners and were grounded with laced biker boots, shades, cross body bags and pigtails.
As the first female to helm Dior and a Roman, Chiuri has always said that she draws inspiration from both Christian Dior and her own 22-year-old daughter. Her tulle ballet skirts from last spring launched an ongoing vogue while her winter collection revived an interest in the tartans and denims of postwar punk. So what will this collection spark?
Her tailoring - brown and cream Prince of Wales check jackets with scooped lapels - were pin sharp over full skirts. Pinafores and playsuits in the same fabric were fresh and modern, but shaggy dark green coats and parkas had more of that rustic air. But this was a huge collection, a diverse bouquet of feminine dress - from flyaway dresses with delicate embroidery, sunny wrap skirts with racer back tops to degrade separates awash with colour and pale grey separates that echoed Dior’s famous love of that shade.
Some items like check romper suits and degrade boiler suits could have been weeded out, but in general it was a strong yet dreamy, well tended collection that ended with loud applause as Chiuri took her bow in blue jeans and sweater to the soundtrack of the 1970 Beatles hit Nothing’s going to change my world that made its own statement.