Mood board: Why have there been no great women artists? This was the striking question posed by the art historian Linda Nochlin that welcomed us to the Dior show. As one French journalist duly noted, Camille Claudel, Louise Bourgeois, Frida Khalo and Georgia O’Keefe might have disagreed – but it certainly explained the show’s mood and inspiration. This season, Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by French-American sculptor Niki de St Phalle and her fellow female artists from the sixties. In a concrete setting of organic shapes and mirror mosaic decorations, the Italian designer presented her woman – part Niki, part Edie Sedgwick.
Best in show: Chiuri seems intent on making her ‘we all should be feminists’ message evolve, this time by opening the show with a striped t-shirt bearing Nochlin’s provocative statement. While the question about whether feminism can be reduced to a slogan still remains, the piece is sure to be a commercial success. As will the patchwork jeans, sequined mini and maxi dresses – a nod to the lesser-known Marc Bohan period at Dior – and especially the accessories. Chiuri’s flair for irresistible shoes really came through in this shows. Flat, lace-up, knee-high boots and Mary Janes (lovely in their patent leather version, even lovelier in mirrored mosaic) are sure to appeal to Millenial customers, which, since Chiuri’s appointment as art director, seem to be the core clientele of the French house.
Team work: Michel Gaubert’s soundtracks have for a long time been key to the success of Dior’s shows, and this time was no exception. Gaubert dug up as fine – and kitsch – a selection of 60s instrumental pieces as there ever was. Particularly inspired was his use of the score in William Klein’s 1966 cult film Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? (Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?). The ecclesiastic-inspired music worked as well with Anna Wintour gazing at Chiuri’s golden mosaic-dresses as it did with the maximalist fashion editrixes admiring the metal dresses in the movie. Only Gaubert could show that kind of humour.