IS DIOR DISAPPEARING?
Creative directors in fashion houses come and go, but I like to think that when a new designer steps in, it’s a person who has been carefully and cautiously handpicked by the very best, to deliver a fresh new perspective, all while maintaining the iconic style and vision of that particular fashion house.
An extraordinary talent left some very large shoes to fill at Maison Dior, and while they selected a notable new creative director to take the lead, I’m not convinced that she’s the right fit for the brand. The expectations are always extremely high, as they should be, for a new creative director’s debut collection, because this is how the designer speaks to the world of their future and vision with the brand. However, after seeing her debut ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, I’m concerned that Dior could be disappearing.
In 2015, I was extremely sad to receive news that Raf Simons was departing Dior. He lead the Dior fashion house for a solid three years, and I think we can all agree that he would’ve made Mr. Christian Dior extremely proud with his innovative and elegant creations over the years. I’ll never forget how Simons made his debut with the Dior Fall/Winter 2012 Haute Couture Collection, in the most breathtaking and poetic manner. It was a love poem to Dior, spoken through flowers.
In my opinion, Raf Simons brought back the original Dior silhouettes to life, in the most modern, yet classic way. The Dior house is known for the hourglass shape, designed with the precisely structured and weighted fabrics. This is the “New Look” that made a historical fashion mark in 1947, created by the very talented Christian Dior.
Recreating the original Dior designs from the Spring/Summer 1947 collection, Raf Simons managed to bring to life the very feminine silhouettes of small waists, emphasizing the bust and hips with contrasting full skirts. Christian Dior changed the world of elegance with the New Look, and Raf Simons showed the world he too, was capable of doing just that.
As he departed to join Calvin Klein as the new chief creative director, the Dior house gained one of Valentino’s best. The one and only Maria Grazia Chiuri was chosen to become the first female creative director for Dior in 2016.
Maria Grazia Chiuri made her debut with the Women’s Spring/Summer 2017 Ready-To-Wear Collection in the Fall of 2016, and presented her first Dior Spring/Summer 2017 Haute Couture Collection earlier this year. Both collections were very beautiful, but it was most evident she brought with her the whimsical, fairytale-like characteristics, strongly reminiscent of a Valentino design.
Now, they say old habits die hard, and for a creative figure having worked 17 years at Valentino, sculpting and re-branding the high fashion line with co-designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, completely disconnecting from the Valentino vision would certainly be a challenge.
I could see where she might have gotten her Dior inspiration from in some of the pieces, but I felt like Dior wasn’t really there anymore. Both collections to me, still looked very much like a Valentino runway. I can understand she wanted to give Dior a fresh facelift as a new creative director, but it wasn’t Dior.
Valentino vs. The “New” Dior
It’s not that she’s not brilliant, because don’t get me wrong, she is an incredible artist and designer! It’s just that she has done such an amazing job turning Valentino into what it is today, that her designs are immediately recognizable as “Valentino”. So bringing even a touch of that with her to Dior, in my opinion, makes the whole collection look as if it doesn’t belong in Dior.
I believe that iconic fashion houses become iconic for a reason. Simply keeping the original vision alive within the new designs is the key to maintaining and honouring the legendary fashion house.
I hope to see Maria Grazia Chiuri dig deeper into the Dior roots, and bring to the world a very Maria, but a very Christian Dior taste of elegance.
What do you think?
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