PARIS (AP) — Pioneering black artist Josephine Baker — who left the United States to find world fame in Paris in the 1920s — was Dior’s muse for an old-fashioned spring couture collection of an archetypal classicism.
With her caressing velvets and silks, embroideries, sequins and tiny silver studs, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri may not have reinvented the wheel, but she certainly embellished it beautifully on the first day of Fashion Week. Paris.
Still, the first day of the event was not without controversy after Dior was criticized for inviting a Ukrainian-sanctioned Russian influencer. Additionally, Schiaparelli was the subject of online anger for glorifying trophy hunting after presenting a fake lion’s head.
Here are some highlights of the first day of the spring-summer haute couture shows:
THE DIOR BAKER
Lining the scented interiors of an annex inside the gardens of the Rodin Museum were giant images of African-American artist Mickalene Thomas de Baker alongside other black American female icons.
Photographs of austere paintings have documented Baker’s extraordinary life and her many roles: as a member of the French Resistance, a civil rights activist and humanist as well as a dancer and performer.
The guests took their seats, curious and excited.
According to Dior, a series of coats, a version of the bathrobe styles, portrayed “the comfortable and intimate dressing room that precedes (Baker’s) entrance on stage”. In terms of tailoring, they were undeniably beautiful, if a bit understated. The first came in silk velvet; her black diamond lapels hung with dramatic weight. It was worn over a delicately smocked satin swimsuit in a 1950s version. Elsewhere, a knitted mesh made of silk and steel beads lends a refined vintage style to an ensemble, while evoking a quiet feminine power. . It was worn over a shiny crushed-velvet evening dress to suggest intimacy.
Later, Chiuri let her hair down slightly and put on her bangs. Baker’s heyday was alluded to in a steel beaded mesh skirt adorned with shimmering fringe.
Although the theme created an anticipation, the Dior garments themselves could offer a powerful exploration of racism or being black, the collection itself remained very Parisian. It was just a veiled tribute to the black trailblazer who fought battles against race, gender and nationality all her life.
That being said, it was admirable to see how many models of color walked the runway – in more than half of the 60 looks – especially since Paris Fashion Week and the luxury industry as a whole have been grappling with persistent accusations of being white-centric. .
MAISIE WILLIAMS PLAYS DIOR’S SISTER
‘Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams looked quite the pose against images of stars such as Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone and Baker with a pixie hairstyle and a Dior bustier in the flashes of photographers’ lenses .
Williams called coming to the show “such a dream”, in part because she just played Dior’s sister, Catherine Dior, in the highly anticipated Apple TV drama series “The New Look” – which focuses on the bitter rivalry. between the couturier and Gabrielle “Coco Chanel.
Williams, who rose to prominence playing the feisty Arya Stark, told The Associated Press that “I think the Dior woman is something to really aspire to,” calling the clothes “powerful” for women.
“The women I like to play have qualities that line up,” she said.
SANCTIONED RUSSIAN INFLUENCER INVITED
Dior has drawn online criticism for extending an invitation to a Paris couture show to a Russian TV presenter called Yana Rudkovskaya, who was sanctioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on January 15 on a list of cultural figures and propagandists suspected of supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other houses reportedly refused to allow Rudkovskaya, who is an influencer, to appear on their shows.
Rudkovskaya posted a photo of her Dior couture invite on Instagram. Some journalists have asked how many “other sanctioned Russians frequent Parisian Haute Couture?”
SCHIAPARELLI MAKES SURREAL TOURS
Glamorous frivolity, exaggerated silhouettes and surreal versions of house founder Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1930s heyday classics.
This was the atmosphere of the first spring-summer couture show of the season — and what a start! – with its gold lashings, intricate embellishments and front-row VIP roll call inside the Petit Palais’ high gilded atrium.
Designer Daniel Roseberry was in top form on Monday – taking classic styles and giving them unexpected twists. A dark, stiff-shouldered, oversized tuxedo has been transformed into a minimalist space-age jumpsuit.
A bronze bustier redesigned as a giant oyster shell rose like a fan that hid the model’s face. Its incredible pearl embellishments have been rendered in organic and crystallized layers showing the skill of the in-house workshop.
A myriad of embellished balls – almost looking like wet pearls – dripped organically from a puffy bolero jacket that cut a beautiful figure, and may have once belonged to an undersea princess.
Yet the collection was also respectful of the house’s founder whose unique brand of frivolity charmed audiences around the world. A giant lion head – replete with fangs and a bushy mane – modeled by Irina Shayk added flair to this collection. It was an inventive nod to surrealism, but also a statement about the absurdity of using fur.
Kylie Jenner, who sat in the front row of Schiaparelli, also sporting a 3D lion’s head and a gold snakeskin bag, was later slammed online amid accusations of glorifying animal cruelty.
IRIS VAN HERPEN GOES DIGITAL
Going against the grain of Paris Fashion Week, which is turning its back on digital, Dutch Wunderkind said of its latest couture offering that it “is proud to announce that…instead of a traditional catwalk, the brand shows a digital presentation that allows for more creative freedom and storytelling.
An in-person presentation accompanied the collector’s film “Carte Blanche”, in which she teamed up with a French artist called Julie Gautier – exploring how female beauty can be used as a form of control.
A soft red dress, with tendons revealing inches of flesh, resembled a poisonous sea creature, while interlocking circles evoked spiky but precious coral. Billowing blue and silver portions of generous fabric on a dress flowed like a generous submarine – touching the signature organic inspiration of the award-winning designer who has designed for artists such as Bjork.
VALLI GIRLS IN FLOWER
Spring was definitely in the air at Giambattista Valli, whose powdery pinks, canary yellows and pale turquoises blended with the floating floral scent to gloriously crown this season.
In this collection, the famous Italian couturier has cut elements from the classic wardrobe or made unexpected takes on dresses.
A royal ball gown that billowed with whoos, sleeves and a voluminous train, was imagined off the shoulder and revealed inch legs. An over-proportioned mermaid flared dramatically from the knee down – ready for a spring wedding. It’s a nice break from style, it’s been paired with a rigid sleeveless crop top that sportily revealed the midriff.
Flowers were also a touchstone.
The cuffs were adorned with giant roses, which reappeared in another over-the-shoulder look as if to cushion the model’s head. While abundant embroidery and strips of tulle accompanied the hair styled to evoke an Arabian dress – with the ubiquitous giant pearl earrings seeming to evoke the famous ancient traditions of Kosovar brides.