Absurdity is the law of the current fashion landscape. Last season, it was the loudest voice and the most viral moment that cut through. To counter this, Maria Grazia Chiuri peeled it back to post WWII austerity for Christian Dior Women's Fall Winter 23. But sombre doesn't mean sexless, nor does modest mean an absence of luxury.
We don't remember the 50s as a time for liberation, especially when compared to the decades that followed. But the independence attained during WWII, especially for European women, emboldened a new generation of feminist and resilient figures. Chiuri counts her own mother and grandmother as part of this cohort, and anchors Dior Fall Winter 2023 around three Dior clients of the same milieu: Juliette Gréco, Edith Piaf and Monsieur Dior's sister, Catherine.
The collection references these former clients and as Chiuri conceives it, forerunners of feminism, in myriad ways. A t-shirt appears on the runway with Piaf's lyrics Je ne regrette rien embroidered across it. The whole mid-section of the show is cloaked in the colour black, perhaps a nod to the exclusively dark colour palette worn by Gréco, the French existentialist musician. Catherine Dior's spirit can be found in the hardiness of the collection. She was a woman who withstood so much, returning from a concentration camp to become an entrepreneur, and although she was in a long term relationship she never married.
Maria Grazia Chiuri has injected elements of her own world into the collection also. Be it through the lightness of design, a gesture towards the practical dress bred in the Mediterranean where she is from, or the many decades she herself has lived through (the grunge inflections – combat boots, chokers, mohair argyle pattern sweater – on the New Look cannot be ignored).
Under the watchful gaze of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos' textile installation, Valkyrie Miss Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a new uniform for our post-pandemic world. There were leather gloves and berets and circle skirts and pencil skirts. But most importantly, Dior Fall Winter 2023 is devoid of spectacle or excess, instead infused with the confidence and deliberation of our predecessors.
Explore the collection for yourself, below.