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Dior Haute Couture SS17_Group shot © Tierney Gearon for Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17_Group shot © Tierney Gearon for Dior
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Maria Grazia Chiuri's Debut Collection for Dior Haute Couture was a Mystic Triumph

Picture of India Doyle
Updated: 25 January 2017
Set in the resplendent surroundings of the Rodin Museum, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Haute Couture collection for Dior was greatly anticipated. As the first ever female creative director of the house, Chiuri not only had a legacy to uphold, but was subject to heightened scrutiny around how she would re-interpret and renovate the codes of Christian Dior for her captive audience.

Having departed Valentino – and her long-time creative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli – in 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri seems to have taken happily to life at Dior. Her first RTW presentation was a fierce feminist statement: refined and delicate on the one hand, yet weaving Dior-printed elastics and with T-shirts that said ‘We Are All Feminists’ in equal measure. Having made a clear break between herself and her predecessor Raf Simons, for her first Haute Couture show Chiuri took the concept of the labyrinth as her starting point, referencing the work of poet and painter Henri Michaux:

‘In the dark we will see clearly, my brothers. In the labyrinth we will find the right way.’ – Henri Michaux

And indeed, an introduction to Michaux offers a generous starting point to present the key strands of Chiuri’s collection. Namely, that with the labyrinth as a motif Chiuri was able to marry the surreal and the mystical within a natural setting. A kind of off-kilter representation that Michaux has played with throughout his poetry and art:

‘But last night, tired of being so isolated, I built, taking advantage of the fog, a jetty as far as the sea. Then, right at the end of t, letting my legs hang down, I looked at the sea, below me, which was breathing deeply.’– The Jetty

While Michaux’s idiosyncrasies offer a dark, dystopian view of himself, Chiuri’s imaginings rendered the existing lexicon of Dior more open and accessible. Her journey into the self – herself here one and the same as the house of Dior – was filled with flowers and greenery, offering a tribute to Christian Dior’s love of flora which were, in his eyes “the most divine of creations. They are so delicate and charming, but they must be used carefully.”

Dior Haute Couture SS17_Look 20
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior

This collection offered a fresh syntax between Christian Dior’s original New Look and a contemporary vision that was all Chiuri’s own. The cinched waists remained, but sheer material and endless ruffles added a contemporary and more ethereal element to Chiuri’s version of the French fashion house’s tale. Pastel colours, sunrise oranges, rose pinks and powder blue drenched tulle and lace. Flowers were delicately embroidered onto the dresses, sometimes with careful restraint though often with unabashed splendour, imbuing pieces with fecundity. In compliment, midnight blue velvets and inky black lace allowed for the full range of her imagination to be demonstrated. Stephen Jones’s trembling fascinators added a delicate touch, conjuring up images of woodland animals lost in Chiuri’s magical forest, a trope emphasised by the range of capes and hoods that folded over and around the dresses.

Audiences were invited to enter the folklore of the house, and explore history through Chiuri’s eyes. Memory mixed with her forward-looking approach to couture combined for a truly imaginative collection, and while her journey may have just begun, she’s is certainly on the right track.

See our favourite designs from the show and the afterparty below.

Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17_Look 17
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17_Look 24
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17_Look 37
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Dior
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 23: General atmosphere outside of the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images for Dior)
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 23: General atmosphere outside of the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2017 in Paris, France | © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images for Dior
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 23: Maria Grazia Chiuri and her daughter Rachel attend the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images for Dior) *** Local Caption *** Maria Grazia Chiuri
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 23: Maria Grazia Chiuri and her daughter Rachel attend the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 | © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images for Dior
ASAP Rocky, ASAP Ferg, and Bella Hadid attend the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque Dior Haute Couture SS17. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Dior) *** Local Caption *** ASAP Rocky; ASAP Ferg; Bella Hadid
ASAP Rocky, ASAP Ferg, and Bella Hadid attend the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque Dior Haute Couture SS17 | © Victor Boyko / Getty Images for Dior