Tuesday 4th July

| BY Jack Moss

Christian Dior: Couture AW17

Those Dior girls don’t half get about do they? Ms Chiuri is always flinging them off to exotic lands – figuratively, as she did when she held her Cruise show in the prairie land of Los Angeles earlier this year, or metaphorically, as she did this afternoon at her second Haute Couture outing in Paris. The girl for the season was a lady explorer, making her way through a sort of forest-cum-scrubland formed outside of the Hotel National des Invalides – complete with giant wooden animals like those ones you put together from balsa wood.

It was an assured outing – Maria Grazia is respectful not only with the way that she pays ode to Mr Dior’s clothes, tweaking his silhouettes into something that she believes women want to wear today, but also to his words, his beliefs. Today she quoted his assertion that: “a complete collection should address all types of women in all countries,” as per the press release. So the fantasy at play here was a fictional imagining of a trip from Rome to Paris (her own journey, coincidentally) starting with mannish, belted up coats worn with trilby-style hats, chunky leather shoes (because you can’t explore uncharted territory in a heel – soz Sophia) and long, pleated culottes.

There were frocks too – because what is a couture show without some of them? Frocks that spoke to that ease of her last couture collection, riffing on similar cuts – namely: coming in at the waist, flaring towards to hem and falling just above the ankle. Plenty of shiny embellishment abounded too – Maria Grazia loves all that stuff – here using the atlas as the starting point. That atlas was embroidered on to the back of a cape and appeared throughout the collection alongside tarot cards and flowers. But this was not a map made from reality, but, as she asserted an “imaginary cartography” – a land created by a woman, for women. And that is Maria’s quest at Dior – to define contemporary womanhood whilst surrounded by the past. It may have started with a statement on a t-shirt – but now she’s fleshing out that world.

Photographs Jason Lloyd-Evans