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Another Dose of Feminism at Dior SS18

Historian Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” is one of Dior’s inspirations for its Paris show

For Dior’s Spring-Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri doubles down on feminism.

At the fashion presentation, a copy of historian Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” was placed on every seat, setting the tone of the show almost immediately. Its title was used as a slogan on a Breton t-shirt worn by the first model who kicked off the show, which resonated back to Chiuri’s earlier “We Should All be Feminists” t-shirt. The now-ubiquitous t-shirt was taken from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’e TED talk and book of the same title.

The designer also took inspiration from the French-American sculptor, painter and filmmaker, Niki de Saint Phalle, whose style exhibited both “iconic and personal, and current in its proportions and whimsy.” She, as described by the designer, “embodies the beauty of her time.”

The house’s latest collection, presented at Musee Rodin in Paris, portrayed Saint Phalle’s own dressing sense and her works. This was evident through her trademark little blue veiled berets seen on the runway and the artist’s signature bright-coloured palette, which Chiuri incorporated with lace, silk, leather or plastic.

Chiuri’s play of motifs was also based on Saint Phalle’s famous creations, namely the Nanas—sculptures of extraordinary women—and the Tarot Garden in Tuscany, which included mirror mosaics, among others.

The collection also made references to Dior’s former Creative Director, Marc Bohan, with his signature little dresses, jumpsuits and the addition of large polka dots, black and white checks and safari jackets.

Chiuri’s exploration of powerful women, once again, echoed throughout the whole presentation as the collection embrace ’60s spirit, a period that illustrated the changing forces of the female universe. Speaking of the inspirational ladies of the yesteryear, Dior summed it up: “They change not only fashion but the contemporary world too.”