Dior Channels Rebellious Women at Paris Fashion Week

After Milan, global fashion’s spotlight shifted to the final stretch of ready-to-wear shows in Paris on Tuesday, as the industry looks to the future with all the final fall trends.

But displays in the French capital will also revisit the past this week, with homages to recently deceased designers Vivienne Westwood and Paco Rabanne.

Here are some highlights of Tuesday’s fall-winter 2023-2024 collections, including Dior:

Dior’s rebels

A surreal and colorful organic world awaited guests inside Paris’ Tuileries gardens.

A spectacular Dior installation suggestive of a giant octopus spanned the length and breadth of the runway, its color-rich fabric tentacles gleaming with thousands of tiny lights. It was the work of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, who wanted to explore how organic form interacted with the “feminine realm of artisanal savoir-faire.”

It made for a dazzling backdrop especially given the flurry of paparazzi flashes snapping guests including model Elle Macpherson, K-pop star Jisoo and actresses Maisie Williams and Charlize Theron.

If the decor seemed futuristic, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri used the past as a touchstone in the clothes, resulting in less exuberance — but no less flair.

Three women — the house founder’s sister Catherine Dior, a French resistance hero, as well as French singers Edith Piaf and Juliette Greco, each described as “rebellious, at once strong and fragile” — were muses in this collection. It channeled the 1950s, Christian Dior’s heyday.

A vintage air was evoked in a faded black leather menswear coat, crumpled houndstooth skirt and wrinkled woolen socks.

Elsewhere, sweaters and skirts sported extra volume in the shoulders or hips in a nod to the thicker fabrics of the post-war period. Stand out pieces included a black textured skirt hung heavily with thousands of embellished flowers that cut a fine androgynous figure below a white shirt and tie. While mottled fabric featured a gleaming metallic thread sewn into it, revealing the skills of Dior’s atelier.

Chiuri’s empowering styles impressed Theron, who told The AP: “She loves women. And in loving women she understands that a woman is feminine but also masculine. We’re vulnerable and we’re strong. We’re contradictions. We’re a little bit of everything, and I love that she has that wisdom.”

Mame Kurogouchi, past and future

The Japanese ready-to-wear brand of Mame Kurogouchi delves edgily between past and present, mixing traditional dressmaking with new technologies.

This was on full display at fall’s minimalist take on the 80s — as far as a decade that exuberant can be minimalist.

A gray pantsuit with crisp clean lines had a futuristic feel with a diagonal dynamic. A black scarf that gripped the neck like a hand tugged down the shoulder, complementing a black space age fanny pack that evoked a cummerbund.

A pared down color palette created a sanitized feel that worked nicely on the 80s references — broad, flat apron silhouettes, hoods and thickly textured top-heavy ensembles.

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