Friday 3rd March

| BY Jack Moss

Christian Dior: Ready-to-wear AW17

Had Maria Grazia Chiuri been listening to Eiffel 65? Fantasising, perhaps, about living in a blue house with a blue window and a little blue corvette? Well, not that we know of, but this, Dior’s AW17 collection, was resolutely about a fascination with the colour blue. The press release began with a quote from Mr Christian Dior himself: “among all colours, navy blue is the only one which can ever compete with black, it has all the same qualities”. Maria Grazia chose the colour, for her second ready-to-wear collection, as an ode to him, of course, but also to the artists Picasso, Miro, Cezanne and Chagall. But even more, she spoke of the colour’s cultural connotations – at once being the colour of riches, kings and clergy, but also of more humble workwear, a dichotomy that ran throughout the collection. It began with toughness. A leather beret suggests as much. And, being as we are in France, the beret, or maquis, comes with it’s own history of resistance – matched here in the clothing through the tinges of military wear – severe belted trench-coats in taffeta, a kind of utilitarian bar jacket peppered with combat pockets, sensible pleated shirts. A set of workwear-inspired looks in denim blue with topstitched seams, echoed also in a great pair of jeans and the roomy shape of the matching dungarees. Tops and jackets with a long hood that fell down the back, designed to echo a monk’s robe. But everybody knows the Dior lady is nothing if all work and no play – so Maria Grazia treated us to blue’s more fanciful connotations in a set of glimmering final looks – that same bustier dress from her first season back this time in shimmering mermaid sequins, followed by a series of other breathtaking dresses, some in velvet, delicately embellished with stars and moons, others that fell away into tassels. A touch of glorious gold detailing, looking almost painted on, a scattering of fantasy ruffles. Because, as Maria Grazia herself knows, a woman is no single thing. And here, as she is already proving so deft, there was something for each and every one. And really, what better mark of a designer is there than that?

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans