The inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s second women’s collection for Dior was the color blue. The show notes explained that it was one of Christian Dior’s favorite hues and included this line from his 1954 book “The Little Dictionary of Fashion,” “Among all the colors, navy blue is the only one which can ever compete with black; it has all the same qualities.”
If the first thing that crossed your mind was a simple, straightforward catwalk collection built around two of the best-known utility players in the modern wardrobe — the navy blue blazer and the little black dress — you wouldn’t be alone. But you would be wrong.
There were some navy blue dresses on the runway, to be sure, as well as a blue blazer or two (the most memorable with the name Christian Dior running along the jacket hem), but the standout pieces of the March 3 ready-to-wear collection were the various riffs on hooded pastors’ tunics (a look, the notes explained, that the house explored in its fall/winter 1949 Haute Couture collection), including jackets, dresses, coats, capes and bomber jackets in fabrications such as taffeta, velvet and herringbone.
Some of the standout looks included a chunky blue cable knit sweater paired with a delicate dégradé tulle skirt; a range of blue velvet pieces, some with embroidered lily flower designs (velvet has been all over the fall/winter runways here, continuing a trend we noticed at last month’s New York Fashion Week shows); and a double-breasted navy blue tailored jacket with lapels that continued past the shoulder blades where they became one of the aforementioned pastor-inspired hoods. (It was a business suit that meant serious business — even if we’re not quite sure what business it was.)
In addition to office-appropriate daywear and elegant, feminine gowns, Chiuriu’s blue women group included an assortment of workwear-inspired denim pieces such as loose-fitting trousers (some cropped just above the ankle; others blousing with extra fabric at mid-calf), washed-down denim shirts and even a utilitarian boilersuit (although often used interchangeably with jumpsuit, the term is often used to distinguish a version that’s cut to fit a bit looser — as was the case here).
If Chiuri’s memorable fencing-and-feminism-themed debut collection for Dior in September (who knew the statement tee would become a runway staple?) was political protest wrapped in a luxury label, then her fall/winter 2017 offering could be interpreted as a call to action thanks to the black leather berets that rounded out each look. For us, the peasant’s cap turned unofficial headgear of radicals and revolutionaries called to mind the Black Panthers; for our seatmate, it was guerrilla leader Che Guevara.
Whether it was an intentional nod to one, both or neither (to paraphrase a saying, sometimes a beret is just a beret) it felt like the perfect capper, both literally and figuratively, for Chiuri’s sophomore collection in these turbulent times.
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