At this day and age where more and more discerning customers hanker after something a little more than just a nice product, fashion brands need to stand for something — something with purpose. And that was exactly what artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri brought to the table, the Dior table to be specific, with her SS’18 collection: an empowering and positive message on feminism.
During her research as she delved into the Dior archives, she came out with an added interest with Niki de Saint Phalle, a French-American sculptor and artist from the late ‘60s to early 2000s. Grazia Chiuri’s interest was initially piqued by a series of photographs of the artist — which were sent to her close friend Marc Bohan, Dior’s creative director back in the day.
As an early and important voice to the feminist movement, Saint Phalle's broad influence is marked by her unique brand of feminist art. Unapologetic, visually bold, and expressive in full measure, her artworks were closely tied to political and social issues. Perhaps it was that spirit and energy which really inspired Grazia Chiuri to view her as a muse for this collection.
Saint Phalles most iconic works — the Nanas, sculptures of extraordinary women, the multicolored hearts, the dragons, the tree of love, and the Tarot Garden in Tuscany became applique embellishments, broken embroideries and mirror mosaics in Dior’s SS’18 collection. Niki de Saint Phalle’s exuberantly colorful palette was given a new lease of life with lace, silk, leather and even plastic.
This collection takes a nod at Marc Bohan and his little dresses and jumpsuits, sometimes teamed with full skirts opening at the front. There are also other elements borrowed from the vocabulary of the French fashion designer who had a 30-year career at the house of Dior. Such examples were large polka dots, checkerboard checks, trousers worn with ordinary or safari jackets, and romantic white looks.
And finally, the bags. Some of the key bags this season include the J’Adior, which was first introduced in SS’17. Now, it comes in a new mini size and colourful mirror mosaic details — a fresh and fun update we absolutely love. The Dioraddict, first introduced in Fall’17, now comes in a metallized calfskin and multicolour crystal details.
The Lady Dior is also seen bearing vibrant illustrations encased in a heart motif as a tribute to Niki de Saint Phalle. The new bag this season is the Book Tote, a jacquard canvas bag which comes in 3 designs - black & white checks, Dior oblique print & a multi-colored version.
Illustrative of the changing forces of these female universes, the upbeat and eclectic collection gives the contemporary world a good push in the right direction, leaving us with nothing but good vibes and optimism.