Christian Dior Pre-Fall 2024 Collection

The Apple TV+ show The New Look climaxes with Christian Dior’s Paris haute couture debut in 1947. A collection of voluptuous curves and prodigious use of material, it rocked the fashion world, setting trends that would last a decade and sparking actual fights in the streets. As radical as the new silhouette was in post-war Europe, it was equaled by Dior’s next move: the establishment of a New York atelier that would make more practical, everyday versions of his made-to-measure creations for modern American lifestyles, in the vein of women designers who were building brands of their own in the States, like Claire McCardell and Elizabeth Hawes. A worthy storyline for season two, maybe.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Dior since 2016, has her own New York story. In an interview last week, she told Vogue’s Jose Criales-Unzueta about her first trip to the city, back “when you could still smoke on airplanes. “I’ve desired from the moment I arrived at Dior eight years ago to come here and realize this show,” she said. Tonight, she made it happen at the Brooklyn Museum, which played host to the decade- and designer-spanning retrospective, “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” back in 2021.

Pre-show, in a makeshift space carved out of the museum’s gift store, she added, “New York has been a big influence on my personal style. I like sportswear, and I like denim too. I don’t think about a collection for specific moments. I think more about wardrobes, where you can mix each piece in a different way, and also what is adaptable. I’m obsessed with that because I think it’s very functional.”

Her comments track with the fall collection she showed in February, where her reference was the 1967 opening of the Miss Dior boutique and the launch of a Paris-made ready-to-wear collection designed by one of her predecessors, Marc Bohan. Here, the fall show’s A-line minidresses were replaced by the nipped waist silhouettes of two decades earlier. Several of the jackets were informed by designs Marlene Dietrich commissioned from Dior, and one model sported the top hat, white waistcoat, and black tails the actress wore in the famous nightclub scene from Morocco.

As is Chiuri’s style, there were plenty of other references besides, including simply constructed and ornately beaded slip dresses of the kind she remembers from her early visit to New York—she likes a mannish top coat as an accompaniment, or a chunky handknit sweater—and new versions of the now iconic saddlebag launched in 1999 at the height of John Galliano’s Dior tenure featuring the date of tonight’s show, a collector’s item in the making.

A stars-and-stripes sweatshirt worn with logo track pants punctuated the lineup, but better were the more subtle Americanisms, like the leather aviator jacket and tweed skirt that looked like a nod in Amelia Earhart’s direction, and a belted cotton shirtdress that would’ve delighted Elizabeth Hawes. Truest to the promise of unrestricted movement and ease associated with American sportswear was a little black dress with a shaped waist made from silk knit that was 100% corset-less. “I like this idea that you can rework a shape of Dior with a different technique,” Chiuri said. “It gives immediately a different attitude.”

This slideshow has been edited. 


Leave a Comment