A rift, raft and a time machine back to the 1950's

The Dior show at Paris Fashion Week was a departure from the usual retro-inspired designs associated with the 1950s. Instead of the pastel colors and saccharine imagery typically associated with that era, Dior turned back the time with a more sophisticated, chic vision of 1950s fashion. The show drew inspiration from the bohemian cafe society of Paris’s Rive Gauche and featured a range of elegant little black dresses, tailored blazers, and other pieces that evoked the spirit of icons like Juliette Gréco

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the designer, explained that she wanted to focus on a different aspect of the 1950s in France, one that celebrated the intellectual and cultural scene of Paris. “We wanted to give back the idea of the Rive Gauche as the centre of the cultural avant-garde of the city, and at the same time the idea of French haute couture as something intellectual,” she said.

The collection featured a range of black dresses, including a chic tuxedo dress and a more flowing dress with delicate embroidery. The show also included Dior’s signature ball gowns, this time in black with glittering embroidery.

Chiuri’s choice of Catherine Dior as a muse for the season also served as a reminder of the important role women played in the French resistance during World War II. In her designs, Chiuri aimed to celebrate the spirit of resilience and rebellion that these women embodied, with black serving as a symbol of strength and sophistication. The show featured tailored jackets, pleated skirts, and evening gowns in black, with pops of red and white. The brand’s signature Bar jacket was reinterpreted with a modern twist.

A mix of tailored pieces, such as fitted blazers and pencil skirts, as well as more relaxed looks like flowing dresses and loose-fitting trousers were also featured. The color palette was predominantly black, with pops of red and white, and prints included polka dots and houndstooth. Accessories included black berets, statement earrings, and chunky-heeled boots.

Chiuri’s approach was intended to pay homage to the 1950s while also bringing a modern perspective to the clothes. Rather than recreating the looks from the archives, modern fabrics were used to give the clothes a contemporary feel. The silhouette of the collection embodied the lean finesse that Dior became known for in the latter part of the 1950s, with graphic lines replacing the full-skirted New Look. Chiuri also noted that the way she approaches making clothes now is less precise. “The way I can make clothes now is less like sculpture,” Chiuri said. “It is less precise, less about perfection. I like it better, it has more warmth.”