THROWBACK THURSDAY: House of Dior: Dior Today

THROWBACK THURSDAY: House of Dior: Dior Today

Following the dismissal of John Galliano in 2011, the House of Dior went through a 13 month period where there was no artistic director. 

The presentation of his fall/winter collection proceeded as scheduled on March 4, 2011, without an artistic director. During the show, the executives of the house gave an impassioned speech about the values of Christian Dior. At the end of the event, the entire staff of the maison took to the runway in place of their missing creative director. 

 John Galliano's last show with Christian Dior - Photo courtesy of Associated Press

John Galliano's last show with Christian Dior - Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Following the March fashion show, Bill Gaytten was appointed interim artistic director and created his first collection for the Haute Couture show in Paris that summer. The reception of his collection was poor, though succeeding collections were met with more significant critical acclaim. For 13 months, maison Dior had no artistic director and this period marked a shift away from Galliano's flamboyant and romantic flair towards the muted and classical lines Dior himself had been drawn to. 

 Raf Simons for Dior at the Spring 2013 haute couture show - Photo courtesy of vogue.com

Raf Simons for Dior at the Spring 2013 haute couture show - Photo courtesy of vogue.com

In April of 2012, the Belgian born Raf Simons, known for minimalistic designs, was announced as the new creative director for Dior. His first collection was the fall/winter 2012 haute couture collection shown in July of that year. It was met with such critical acclaim that it was dubbed "the new couture".  Simons also moved away from showing his collections at the Musee Rodin and instead chose a private residence near the Arc de Triomphe, a move many saw as a paradigm shift away from the Galliano years and towards the original post War period of maison Dior. 

Simons was criticized due to his lack of incorporation of women of color in his runways. Not only were they not included, he vehemently opposed them for Dior shows or his own private label. 

In 2015, Simons resigned from Dior with a statement: 

It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and passions that drive me outside my work.
— Raf Simons
 Raf Simons for Christian Dior Spring 2016 collection - photo courtesy of vogue.com

Raf Simons for Christian Dior Spring 2016 collection - photo courtesy of vogue.com

The departure from Maison Dior was amicable, and a replacement was not named until July of 2016, when the announcement of Maria Grazia Chiuri marked the first time a women was the creative director for Dior. 

Grazia Chiuri had trained in Rome, and prior to her appointment at Dior, she worked with Pierpaolo Piccioli as co Directors at Valentino. When she moved to Dior, Piccioli was named Creative Director at Valentino. 

 The T Shirt in question - Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

The T Shirt in question - Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Given the political climate today, her first show featured a shirt with the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay "We Should All Be Feminists".  Her first collection for the Maison featured a few major themes: Dio(R)evolution, Divination, and Fencing. 

When I started couture at Dior, the first thing I thought was that Monsieur Dior did couture in a very classic way, because there wasn’t ready-to-wear. Monsieur Dior, but also Monsieur Saint Laurent, and Monsieur Bohan and even Monsieur Ferré. They did real couture, couture to dress women.
— Maria Grazia Chiuri
 Maria Grazia Chiuri in an atelier - photo courtesy of Thibault Montamat

Maria Grazia Chiuri in an atelier - photo courtesy of Thibault Montamat

Grazia Chiuri seeks to modernize the designs of Dior and make them contemporary for the women of the future. She returned to showing her collection in the romantic and theatrical Musee Rodin with a fairytale like landscape. Grazia Chiuri said in a statement to British Vogue: 

Femininity isn’t something that finished in the Fifties; it can be more contemporary. My reference is a modern woman and my role has to be to understand women of the future. I am not that, I’m the woman of now, and so I look at my daughter a lot; what she wears and what her friends wear, her lifestyle, and how she thinks.
— Maria Grazia Chiuri

Look at our What We're Loving section for Chimamanda Ngozi Aidichie's work!

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