In a fitting retrospective which captures the spirit of Richard Avedon’s 1955 shoot ‘Dovima with Elephants’ for Harpers Bazaar showcasing the first Dior dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s spring summer 2019 haute couture show brings out the flamboyance and playful pomp of the circus along with the faded glamour and romanticism of the ‘greatest show’.
Dior’s haute couture spring summer 2019 collection: An elegant circus of style and colour.
Christian Dior himself enjoyed going to the Cirque d’Hiver and with the circus being a great 20th century inspiration for writers, artists and designers alike across the decades, it is a recurring theme for Dior starting in 1950 and again later under John Galliano’s creative direction.
For Maria Grazia Chiuri, this fantastical creative chaos provides the starting point for the spring-summer 2019 haute couture collection. The visual unfurling of the pieces that compose the collection allow the imagination to join the circus through costumes, fashion and art, extending the evocation of Cindy Sherman’s work focusing on clowns.
This collection is dramatic and beautiful in equal measure. The sparkle of harlequin sequins mixed with oversize ruffled sleeves along with the shiny criss-cross acrobat slippers bring a diversity and a practicality to this collection. Texture and movement are key here. Eminently wearable, there is power and imagination to the pieces.
Powdery shades that blend into an infinite palette symbolize the sense of well-worn fabric and the fine dust that sprinkles stage clothes: remnants of sawdust, stage makeup and glitter.
Skirts embroidered or inlaid with opaque sequins are shortened as tutus – a nod to the circus acrobats, tamers and riders. Maria Grazia Chiuri employs this broad variety of images to compose her own “parade”, comprising full and very light pants narrowing at the ankle.
Shorts are paired with sheer white shirts accented with ruffs or ribbons seemingly frayed with the passage of time. There are also leather corsets, sailor stripes, and black jackets inspired by the apparel of the lion tamer. The geometric white clown outfit, whether spare or sumptuous, is reinterpreted for a modern time.
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