I really perked up when I read Nicole Phelps’s opener for her Vogue.com review: “Behind the scenes at Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri is doing some deep thinking about clothes—not just in regards to how they appear and what we like and dislike about them, but why.” Naturally, we pose the very same question here at TPoF.
However, there didn’t seem to be an attempt to answer this question through the 66-look collection that Grazia Chiuri delivered yesterday, which can be summed up as: a slew of dated dresses, a few suit-and-cap looks resurrected from Fall 2017 Couture, and a house dress. The one-shoulder princess skirt gowns resembled nameless “occasionwear” one might find in a mid-range department store. But let’s not forget the slogan opener, which read “Are Clothes Modern?”, referencing Bernard Rudofsky, the Austrian-American who penned the 1947 essay of the same name. All this to create an intellectual shroud around Grazia Chiuri, and perhaps deflect from the fact that this is a woman who struggles to understand why we like what we like when it comes to clothes.
What she, and the team at LVMH seem to understand very well however, is the power of social proof. Free Dior has landed in the hands of enough Instagram It-girls to create fauxfluence, creating the most vivid re-enactment of The Emperor’s New Clothes. With its ubiquity, the average consumer fears to point out an obvious truth (hey, these clothes arent’t actually amazing!) that is counter to the seemingly prevailing opinion.
Old-guard fashion critics, who seem to have a wildly puzzling soft spot for Grazia Chiuri, insist that she is still finding her feet and have gone as far to say that her post at Dior is some sort of transcendental personal journey, as if she were at Cirque Lodge, and we should all be holding her hand through it.
For the sake of good writing, I feel mildly pressured to counter this review with a positive aspect of this collection, but I won’t. Because the fact that Grazia Chiuri has been showing clothes like this for two years now, buffered by an aggressive influencer campaign, accessories, and well, the Dior name, is what’s wrong with fashion today.
So, in summary, are clothes modern? Sure. Just not this particular collection.