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Yesterday in Paris at the Musée Rodin, Dior presented its Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2018 women’s collection. Approaching the serene site, guests were greeted by tall, lush hedges leading to a stark white entrance. Bold lettering led attendees into the presentation that reminded us of the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs (July 5, 2017–January 7, 2018). Similar to how the exhibition was a tribute to where it all starts—the atelier—the show blurred the lines between avant-garde art, fashion, and desirable design.
The pristine set took 200 people 18 days and six nights to complete. Made of over 6,600 pounds of concrete cladding, 1,000 light projectors, 35 truckloads of wool, and 294 mannequins, the all-white runway, touched with simple black light tracks, was reflected onto itself by surrounding mirrors. Providing a clean start for the seasons ahead, the set made way for the fashion that followed.
Haute Couture—synonymous with elegance, sophistication, and craftsmanship—has long been a signature of Christian Dior. Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri has incorporated considerable detail, unexpected updates to materials and shapes, delicate handwork, and wonder. For Fall/Winter 2018, Chiuri drew inspiration from Alison Bancroft’s article Inspiring Desire: Lacan, Couture, and the Avant-garde, Fashion Theory and the rules of haute couture by The Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. With the new collection, Chiuri questioned how couture can be celebrated as it abides by the rules, while still offering something new and creative.
With the start of the show, diaphanous fabrics floated down the runway in natural hues—some blending into skin tones, some subtly contrasting against navy, grey, mauve, and black. After highlighting classic silhouettes and celebrated shapes from the 1950s and ‘60s, pointed nude heels and short veils and berets in nude and black were seen topping several looks.
Belted capes, jackets side-tied at the waistline, and long double-breasted coats with large pockets were spotlighted for the cooler months ahead. We also caught sight of a blush pink skirt, a gold pantsuit, and a sleeveless taupe drop-waist down—all subdued for a sophisticated evening out. Bar and tuxedo jackets were reimagined with large flap sleeves, pleated gowns were accentuated with slim waist belts in the same color, and boxy coats showing landscape designs and floral patterns were worn open and over delicate dresses.
Chiuri’s hopes came true: the rules of couture can be honored, and they can be re-written, too.