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Dior AW19: Commercial callouts

Sandra Halliday
27 February 2019

Dior’s AW19 show was a return to form for Maria Grazia Chiuri as she took the 1950s as inspiration but kept the collection modern end wearable (in fact, more easily commercial that it’s been for a few seasons). She revisited devices she’s used before but it felt fresh enough and really did offer up something for almost everyone. And coming on the same day that Anthony Vaccarello’s collection for Saint Laurent continued his heavily sexualised themes, Dior was an object lesson in just what a female designer can do.

The 50s silhouette

Dior AW19

Dior has an advantage over every other label out there when it comes to a classic 50s silhouette as it’s the label that invented it (albeit a decade earlier with Dior’s New Look in 1947). This season’s interpretation of the shape is all about a defined waist (marked out by deep purse belts) atop a full skirt. But influenced by 1950s Teddy Girls, it’s less couture glamour, more casual and relaxed. Flaring skirts (pleated, appliquéd, in denim, or sheers) are topped with an updated version of the house’s Bar jacket, shirt dresses are updated and that part-leather/part-elasticated belt-purse is crucial. It’s a star item from the collection, channelling the label’s hit saddlebag and cinching in just about everything.

Blanket checks

Dior AW19

Whether worked in soft sheers, cosy woollens or heavily textured knits, the blanket check feels both retro and modern. It worka well for outerwear (all-covering coats, lumberjack jackets, cagoules and cardi-coats), as well as smarter daytime tailoring and skinny tops, plus as more surprising occasion pieces. It looks set to be a major pattern for the season.

Bustier dressing

Dior AW19

The bustier top or dress has been a popular pick for designer labels in recent seasons Chiuri has embraced it wholeheartedly as a way to add a surprisingly dressy twist to relaxed daytime looks over a classic plain, striped or checked long-sleeved tee. But it’s also key for after-dark as a standalone, intricately cut piece adding to the 1950s theme.

The bucket hat

Dior AW19

Dior always has a statement hat to literally put the lid on every collection, from berets to newsboy caps. But this time, despite the overriding 50s theme, it’s that 90s staple the bucket hat. It comes in the collection’s blanket checks, shiny leather, denim and leopard print pony too. With the label’s net trim, it's the go-to piece for day, evening, outerwear and any other occasion you could choose. Maria Grazia Chiuri isn’t the only big name backing it at the moment so expect to see them flooding the mass-market.

The kitten heel

Dior AW19

With the 50s youth culture influence in mind, kitten heels are a no-brainer and make no mistake - these are real kitten heels. Those so-called kittens that measure three inches may have looked tiny compared to the five-inch heels of a few years ago, but in a world now dominated by flats and sneakers, a tiny heel measuring one to two inches should be able to find a lot more fans. For Dior, they come in the label’s popular slingbacks (worn with black ankle socks), as well as a very commercial ankle boot. Complete with the collection’s blanket check and a cuff, they’ll work well both for skirt and skinny pant dressing.

Sheer style

Dior AW19

Sheer has a place in most Dior collections these days but this time it isn’t just about the label’s signature skirts and dress, although there are plenty of those. Think gathered or pleated tulle skirts, semi-transparent silks, the collection’s blanket check printed on sheers, and stiffened mesh. This is very much a collection of contrasts as the soft lightness of those sheers comes up against heavy woollens and leathers and as tailoring is teamed up with the tulle. And there’s another dimension to the sheer obsession too as the collection’s slouchy knits are worked on oversized needles for maximum show-through.

Protest

Dior AW19

Dior’s slogan T-shirts have been discussed at length with opinion fairly evenly divided between those who give a thumbs-up to any ultra-expensive fashion label that wants to embrace feminist slogans and those who think that high-end fashion is about as anti-feminist as it’s possible to get. Whatever your point of view (even if you don’t care either way), there’s no denying that Maria Grazia Chiuri has struck a blow fro feminism, both as the first female designer at male-dominated Dior and as a big promoter if the slogan tee (she’s done as as much for the trend as Katharine Hamnett did decades ago.) This time, she’s taken her slogans from Bianca Menna (aka Tomaso Binga) titles with Sisterhood is Powerful, Sisterhood is Global and Sisterhood is Forever. Can’t argue with that.

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