His-and-Her Dior Accessories You Can Wear This Season.
These were two very different and individualistic collections but some similar themes ran through: grit, liberation, elegance, romance, channelling distinct identities…
As always, womenswear designer Maria Grazia Chiuri chose to stand in female solidarity, and her show set, created by the anonymous artist collective Claire Fontaine, featured pro-feminist quotes that made this amply clear.
“We Are All Clitoridian Women” was one of the controversial proclamations set against the runway backdrop. It’s a reference to a feminist manifesto by Carla Lonzi, an Italian art critic whose other notable works also inspired Grazia Chiuri’s Seventies-style collection.
The era was chosen for personal reasons, too — snapshots of teenage Grazia Chiuri during the 1970s served as starting points for this self-affirming collection. The 56-year old Roman designer even credits the liberating decade to have honed her attitude and mindsets.
Dior in the ’70s was helmed by Marc Bohan, whom coincidentally, Grazia Chiuri admits is the Dior couturier she most identifies and shares her designer ethos with. Bohan’s tenure with the French maison coincided with a time where fashion was shifting its gears to adopt ready-to-wear over couture. In other words, while Grazia Chiuri was, as the Dior show notes described, “using fashion as a way of asserting herself, of rebelling, and communicating to others how she wanted to be perceived,” Bonhan was doing the same by way of offering women his take on unrestrained je ne sais quoi.
This season, the house’s iconic bags from the Saddle to the Lady D-Lite were updated with the tactile allure of velvet. The Saddle, which normally comes swathed in the famed Dior Oblique canvas, appeared more plush/opulent in the velvet rendition without looking too excessive. In tune with the Seventies theme, the new Dior Bobby in a Beatnik-style tanned leather (trimmed with braided blanket stitches) is a season must-have. So too is the 30 Montaigne bag, which was lent a fall vibe constructed in shearling suede (a sleeker box calf leather iteration is available too). Headpieces dominated the collection in the form of scarves and caps, designed by milliner Stephen Jones. Part beret, the latter head-turners were topped with a large visor to lend the hat an andro-Beatnik newsboy appeal.
The scarves and how they were worn by the models in the show took specific reference from Grazia Chiuri’s research into her own family albums, which pictured her mum and herself sporting the accessory with the same insouciance.
Fans of Grazia Chiuri’s Dior will know the designer’s love for a manly boot. This season, she’s fashioned them into combat styles, pairing many with knee-high fishnets. The effect was both rebellious and charming.
No Dior collection is complete without its treasure trove of costume jewellery. These seasonal capsules are often pivotal to a collection as they reiterate its storyboards, as well as pay homage to many of Monsieur Dior’s interests and passions. The brand’s website writes in this collection’s notes: “Inspired by her own memories, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s jewellery creations are like intimate treasures. Echoing the lucky charms that Christian Dior always carried with him, the Creative Director’s personal favourites — long necklaces, bracelets and Tribales earrings — sport precious symbols: A koi carp, a symbol of good fortune; a scarab, for rebirth; a heart, for love; and coral, for her (Grazia Chiuri) native Italy…
Over at menswear, creative director Kim Jones picked a dynamic individual to front the main inspiration of his collection — the late Judy Blame, a British accessories designer/stylist.
Blame’s illustrious career saw him collaborate with icons from Leigh Bowery to ex-Dior designer John Galliano, dressing Boy George, Björk and Kylie Minogue, and also contributing as a stylist to infamous English publications, such as The Face & i-D; and selling his accessories line at Dover Street Market. A punk iconoclast, Blame was also a prominent figure on the London scene. “This show is dedicated to the memory of Judy Blame, a close friend and pioneer in the world of fashion, whose love of couture was an inspiration to us all,” enthused Jones in the brand’s fashion show notes. “A generation grew up on his designs,” added Jones in an article in theguardian.com.
As with the women’s collection, there was a Bohan tribute here as well, namely in the form of the Dior Oblique canvas, which the French designer introduced as a house icon in 1967. Reinvented in this collection with a trompe l’oeil effect of festooned pearls, the delicate “embroidery” transformed the monogram and decorated opera gloves (a Blame signature). Under the suits, pearl cuffs with scarves made the scarves appear as ties.
Known for his artistry in up-cyling the simplest of every day knick-knacks into jewellery masterpieces, Blame could easily be considered a visionary in popularising that beloved high-low fashion mix. Jones revisited Blame’s DIY signature with a range of silver accessories: Pearl-bit necklaces and earrings, as well as tassel charms (worn dangling from chest seams or through a belt loop). These trinket adornments like bespoke jingle-jangle junk were a curious mix of safety pins, keys, industrial-style rings, tools, and if you channel a bit of Blame humour, anything you can possibly scour and simply imagine. A paisley scarf had varying sized buttons stitched on its hem and trimmed with chain fringe, which displayed miscellaneous charms worthy of a posh rag-and-bone; and boots plus ivy caps boasted functional zip seams.
The offering of bags in the men’s collection had a pared-down and clean, utilitarian appeal. Its unisex attributes boasted several pieces that women could adapt into their wardrobes, from a Saddle-inspired cross-body to double wallet-sling bags cut from posh leathers.
Images courtesy of Dior, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.