Dior’s Calabasas Show Was Surreal and Surprising

Maria Grazia Chiuri has outdone herself

05.12.17

When Maria Grazia Chiuri left Valentino and her partner (with whom she had resurrected the fashion house) to assume the position of creative director at Christian Dior, the move was bound to be controversial. Here was a woman, powerful by all accounts but mostly seen as such in the context of a duo, taking over a house that has never been run by a woman and doing it on her own.

If you ask me, she was set up to disappoint. The bar had been set so high. People expected perfection, brilliance, a knock out of the park so profound, her clothes might actually fix the broken fashion system. There was also skepticism. Was she equipped to run a house of this magnitude solo?

Last night, she showed a comprehensive collection for the resort 2018 season (what were once considered smaller, in-between collections are becoming increasingly more important in the scheme of retail) at the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in Calabasas, 45 minutes outside of Santa Monica. It took about two hours to get there during rush hour.

When I arrived, flurries of cowboy boots, cropped fur jackets and sheer mid-length dresses and skirts — like those from her previous two collections — were waiting on an expanse of dusty, desert land to be escorted by golf cart to the show venue. I’ve never been to Burning Man, but imagine this is what it looks like.

At the show venue, two hot-air balloons that read “Christian Dior Sauvage” were stationed among a fog of flying dust. A series of earth-colored couches, located among deliberately placed tumbleweeds, provided intimate seating for groups of show attendants. The setting was surreal; the clothes were surprising.

Her first two collections seemed like a soft launch, a quiet whisper to the house’s history and heritage. And if that is true, if they were soft, this was seemingly the grand reveal — a big-ass opening party that rescinded whatever skepticism you may have felt to make room for, finally, the knock-out collection.

And it was a knock out. But I don’t know what made it so great: Was it how exacting her vision and the subsequent execution was? Here we were, watching various iterations of Georgia O’Keeffe wander through a valley.

The tieback to Dior was faint, but there in various garments printed with renderings of the Lascaux cave in France (a historic source of inspiration for the house).

For what it’s worth, I’d wear all the clothes.¬†They were the right amount of serious and folky, never becoming parodies of themselves in spite of the fringed hemlines.

It feels as if each of the three collections she has so far designed for Dior are like novellas unto themselves, threaded together by a much more esoteric theme that builds as we progress, allowing them to make sense in the scheme of each other. Sure, you can draw the sheer, ankle-length skirts to each other, but ultimately, the leather berets and denim jumpsuits of Fall ’17 have very little to do with the long-sleeve, tulle, turtleneck dresses of Resort. That’s okay, because her steadfast inspiration, the unflinching string holding her clothes together, is a very true celebration of the woman in all her permutations.

The men who have designed at the helm of Dior have had a very clear picture of the particular Dior woman. But is there just one woman suited for these clothes? Could just one woman maintain such a binary definition of her own identity?

For as many eye rolls as the first collection of T-shirts, swiped from a stunning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie text (“We Should All Be Feminists”) invited, maybe she had to be that literal. To hit us over the head with her purpose, because now it seems singular: spread femininity like wildfire, whatever it takes.

Feature photo by Rich Fury via Getty Images; slideshow photos via Vogue Runway.

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  • Looks amazing!!

    xx

    http://cottonandtonic.com

  • beccamu

    10/10, would wear

  • Feminine and strong. Such a stunning collection. I loved watching via their Instagram Stories too, lots of backstage extras!

    Gemma
    http://www.fadedwindmills.com

  • Amazing collection!
    xx Nicki
    http://www.morningelegance.de

  • Beautiful! It feels very Isabel Marant meets Gucci. Which is not a terrible idea.

  • i’m into it

  • Kay Nguyen

    It doesn’t have the typical Dior’s vibe but I love this! Everything is beautiful <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Anne Dyer

    Put it all on my body now

  • Maurissa Dahms

    This collection perfectly embodies and combines my childhood and adult dream jobs/life goals: gun-slinging cowgirl and still cowgirl, but also fashion, respectively. I loved everything about it!

  • Duda Adc

    Beautiful, how to re-invent and modernize the Door esthetic. Look careful, you will see that the classic shapes are still in there but more relaxed and exciting and comfortable! And I will just shut up about the background…

  • Mya Patel

    every single one of her collections so far have fascinated me. beautiful, elegant, yet bold and strong. they seem to make it seem normal for feminine and strong to be put together. the pairing of graphic tshits with ‘we should all be feminists’ and soft tulle flowing skirts seem to be a message and only a promise. cant wait for more.

  • lily

    I liked the theme and the scenery it was brilliant and captivating as fuck! Having said that, the clothing itself didn’t seem promising. I just don’t see how it represent Dior. The clothes are fine with the scenario, take it outside in real life for example its just blah ! Mediocre to say the least. Where did Dior identity go?? I would like for once a blogger to actually visit a fashion show and say it was okay or its not good instead of praising the collection for future events

  • Kelsey

    Beautiful clothes!

  • Pandora Sykes

    Aside from the terrible t-shirt, I really like Dior under her guise. But I’m seemingly one of very few people, within the fashion industry, to feel like this. I recently spoke with someone who used to work there who said she was going down nothing short of terribly, within the house. It’s surprising and not my take, but it certainly seems to be a common thought.

  • Jennifer

    Got chic Westworld vibes for sure. Now I need a cool cowboy hat!

  • laulaunezz

    Super Cool, i love all of these looks!!!

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  • hi.ann.lawson

    AMAZE!!!! everysinglethingisamaz!! wear it all. bags/hats/shoes/jewelry check!!!