The Collection: Following her departure from Valentino last season, Maria Grazia Chiuri made her much-anticipated debut at Christian Dior this morning at Paris Fashion Week. The collection continued the more youthful momentum Raf Simons hammered into the French fashion house before her.
Of course, she couldn’t resist doing a plethora of tulle gowns — a signature of hers at Valentino — embroidered with cutesy lobsters, or two strategic hands covering the breasts. An embroidered tulle skirt was paired with a white T-shirt reading, “We should all be feminists.” To balance out the girl power, Chiuri also showed a few tougher looks: A quilted leather vest was inspired by fencing uniforms, while a matching white pant and jacket look had racing stripes along the sides — a not-so-subtle suggestion that Dior is certainly speeding toward somewhere new.
The Shoes: Who would have ever thought to see pool slides on a Dior runway? But there they were, the uppers emblazoned with the Dior logo. Could Chiuri be trying to attract the millennial set? The footwear collection overall aimed to render the clothes less elegant and a bit more cool. Lace-up sneaker boots were cut just below the knee, done in white or a punchier silver metallic. Meanwhile, simple strappy flat sandals and black pumps were forgettable.
The Verdict: It’s a hard balance to strike, keeping Dior’s classic customer excited while making room for new ones, too. Chiuri’s debut collection offered a bit of both: a simple polka-dot dress with tulle underlay for the uptown woman, “Dio(R)Evolution” T-shirts for the downtown gal. A few looks indeed screamed Valentino, but with time that will change. She’s only getting started.