As confetti descended upon the stage, dancers strapped in bodysuits leapt out and began their mesmerising theatrics against a rousing soundtrack. The real stunners on the legendary runway of the Hippodrome de Longchamp, however, were the models floating down in a whimsical series of muted colours and soft, flowing fabrics.
This was Dior’s SS2019 collection — another dance-inspired fashion number, but one that has been taken on a contemporary light. Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s inspiration was sparked from a chance discussion with acclaimed Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal, the same person behind the avant-garde performances running in sync with the fashion runway.
“The experience of dance, its most intimate truth, the fact that it is a means of universal expression, and the radicality of the gestures of contemporary dance have all stimulated my imagination.”
To delve into dance is a meaningful introspection of Dior’s history and inspirations. Dance and fashion have always enjoyed a special synergy, especially so with Christian Dior. In the founder’s prime, he loved the art and celebrated it by creating extraordinary pieces with choreographers and dancers. Puffy tutus, organza and lace come to mind.
In this collection, Grazia Chiuri goes for the minimalist aesthetics of contemporary dance. She distils the essences of contemporary dance as bodysuits, tanks and light jumpsuits in a palette of nudes, soft greys and light ombres. These are bases to a complementary swirl of subdued tutus, fishnets and jersey to form relaxed silhouettes flexible enough for the dynamic movements in dance.
It’s also visible with an introduction of more casual styles with cargo pants and jackets, alluding to menswear. Traditional male dance costumes are also referenced here as intricate prints on long shirts and pants — a perfect fit with Dior’s woven bracelets. As a nod towards hip-hop, another inspiration that’s informed the collection, jeans are also brought into the picture of informal dancewear.
Dior’s beloved gowns take on a similar evolution as elegant constructions of airy tulles and macramé. Gone are the corsets and underwires. Instead, dresses adopt freeform styles sprinkled with details of beading, embroideries and, on occasional, artfully done tie-dyes.
Accessories-wise, the collection sees the return of Dior’s ballet shoes reinterpreted as comfortable flats and sandals and Perspex heels to give the illusion of a perpetual ‘en pointe’. Strappy headbands are set to be Dior’s latest headdresses, left as minimalist and practical bands over chunky creations.
Dior’s SS 2019 is deliberately a less showy collection, but it is set to be one that will be remembered and well appreciated well after its season.