Maria Grazia Chiuri Creates a Dio(R)evolution at Christian Dior

by Paige Reddinger
Bring on the Dio(R)evolution! Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut at Dior was a major about-face for the brand and a feminist manifesto of sorts. There were moto-jackets, flat sneakers and boots, and Dior logo-emblazoned underpinnings and straps in the vein of the retro moment Calvin Klein is having with its own brand renaissance. But most shocking of all? T-shirts with slogans like “We should all be feminists.” The show opened with a series of white fencing-inspired uniforms, as if Dior’s first female creative director was signaling the uphill battle into which she has just thrown herself. While she is an immense talent, filling Raf Simons critically acclaimed shoes is nevertheless a tall order.
Grazia Chiuri’s battleground is uncharted territory for Dior: millennial outreach, something that Hedi Slimane and Demna Gvasalia have done before her at established Parisian houses. Whether or not it has the glamorous appeal that some traditionalists still long for, it’s increasingly the way of the future. But Grazia Chiuri didn’t completely abandon the wonderful sense of romance and history that she and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who also attended the show, created at Valentino. There were still plenty of of feminine gowns and skirts in ephemeral tulle with delicate embroideries that were a signature at Valentino—here, they were topped off with sweaters, visors, moto and suit jackets, T-shirts, and logoed trimmings on straps and waistlines. Even a tulle lace-collared top came with sporty stripes on the arms and was worn with cut-off jeans and a bandeau crop-top underneath. Pierre Cardin, who 70 years ago was hired as the first assistant to Christian Dior, was perched front row, if that tells you anything about the palpable excitement surrounding Grazia Chiuri’s debut. We wonder what he thought of the new Dio(R)evolution…

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