Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s seasonal collections for Dior are often inspired by powerful women from history. Last September, her lineup paid homage to Catherine de Medici, who was queen of France from 1547 to 1559, and the season before that, the designer’s creations were inspired by Carmen Amaya, the first Spanish flamenco dancer to wear men’s clothes in the ‘50s. For Chiuri’s Dior Fall/Winter 2023 show, the designer once again paid tribute to historical figures, drawing from several French muses close to home: Catherine Dior, Édith Piaf, and Juliette Gréco.
“These three women shared an independent spirit that guided their choices. Singular protagonists, each of them was able, through their lifestyle, to subvert feminine stereotypes that were part of the post-war mind set,” read the show notes.
Catherine Dior, as her last name suggests, was Christian Dior’s sister. The youngest of five, she was a French resistance fighter during World War II and later became a renowned florist in Paris. As for Piaf and Gréco, they were both highly lauded, influential French singers throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s. As you take a look at the French label’s new collection, the flower details that adorn the iconic Lady Dior bag — named after Princess Diana — and that appear on the dresses and bralette tops are obvious tributes to Catherine’s career as a florist.
As for the less on-the-nose nods to Piaf and Gréco’s style, you’ll want to note Piaf had a personal penchant for wearing little black dresses at the beginning of her career. Thus, Chiuri’s autumn lineup provided a bevy of silhouettes in this hue to choose from, whether it was a sheer little number styled over undergarments or a strapless midi gown that closed the show. Meanwhile, the models’ moody makeup paid tribute to Gréco’s iconic smoky eye look. Like Piaf, she also preferred to dress in black, and also often wore men’s suits as she felt dresses were too unbearable for French winters. You’ll see that Chiuri designed trousers and menswear-inspired shirts for good measure, here.
With the same vintage-inspired theme in mind, Chiuri noted she wanted to create a “reinterpretation of ‘50s” fashion, elements of which came through in the runway looks. There were a variety of fit-and-flare dresses, pencil skirts styled with workwear blouses, and cinched waist pieces. The designer also included cropped sweaters, styled with floral body-hugging skirts, and cozy cardigans that spoke to that decade’s style trends. Meanwhile, footwear options ran the gamut, from Mary Jane heels to embroidered ankle pumps. Every outfit embodied your typical Dior woman, one whose sense of dressing is rooted in elegance and ease.
As precious as many of the ensembles may have felt, Chiuri also made sure there was some edge to them — a sign that the Dior woman is a multifaceted individual. Classic wool coats were paired with knee-high, lace-up combat boots while several models wore ties with button-down shirts tucked into poodle skirts, thereby flipping the script of ties being a stereotypically “masculine” hero piece. “This Dior collection is the very signature of a femininity that goes against the grain. Rebellious. At once strong and fragile,” said the show notes.
As you peruse through the Fall/Winter 2023 outfits, your eyes might be drawn to the elaborate set decor, too. If you’ve followed Chiuri’s past runway shows, you know she usually uses set designs to complement and further her collection’s narrative. For the fall/winter showcase she worked with Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos to create the installations, titled Valkyrie Miss Dior, for the show. In Norse mythology, the Valkyries are deities who serve the god Odin and are often portrayed as powerful, brave, and combative women. “For Vasconcelos, who is interested in the personal and collective stories of women whose lives set examples, Catherine Dior is [once such example of] a ‘Valkyrie’” read the press release.
Take a closer look at Chiuri’s Fall/Winter 2023 impactful creations ahead, as TZR rounded up several of our favorite looks from the show.
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